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Northern Lakes Wonders Food and Culture Vacation Italy

Come to this Northern Lakes Wonders - Food and Culture vacation in Lake Maggiore and Lake Como! The Northern Lakes offer some of the most stunning scenery in Italy: placid waters, centuries-old villas surrounded by fabulous gardens, and views of snow-capped Alps in the distance. Experience the elegance of this region, and learn the secrets of the remarkable Northern Italy recipes such as risotto, pasta, stracotto, and ossobuco.


  • 2 private cooking classes with renowned chefs
  • Visit a superb winery in Piedmont, and enjoy wine tasting and lunch
  • All on-ground transportation as well as airport transfers provided
  • Explore Lake Maggiore and the amazing Borromee Islands
  • Explore the villages of Lake Como and Lake Orta
  • 7 nights luxury accommodation with breakfast
  • 2 dinners and 1 lunch

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced


4 days with instruction
Group size: Minimum of 2 participants
Airport transfer included: Milan–Malpensa Airport
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Throughout the tour, you will stay at two five-star hotels in Stresa and Bellagio, and at a four-star boutique hotel in Milan. You will experience the comforts of two of the most special hotels in Northern Lakes area.


Day 1: Stresa (Lake Maggiore)

Your driver will be waiting for you at Milan airport to take you to Lake Maggiore. Lake Maggiore is framed below by soft hills, and above by high mountain peaks, some of which have snow throughout the year. These features create a unique microclimate. Thanks to this mild climate, many species of flowers and plants typical to the sub-tropical area have adapted to the coastal areas.

Your accommodation will be in Stresa, at a five-star hotel on the shores of Maggiore Lake, just in front of the Borromee Islands. The hotel is conceived like a luxury Italian villa and surrounded by an enchanting garden. Your deluxe room has private balcony and an incomparable view on the Lake Maggiore and Borromee Islands.

Your dinner will be at the refined restaurant of the hotel: superb cuisine and magnificent view on the lake.

Day 2: Stresa and Borromee Islands

Meet your guide at the hotel for a boat cruise to the Borromee Islands. You will first visit the Isola Madre, the largest island with its world-renowned botanical gardens. Continue to Fishermen’s Island, where there is time to explore the charming shops and have lunch in its medieval village.

Then, you will visit the Isola Bella, home to the 17th century Palazzo Borromeo and its Baroque garden, arguably the most beautiful in Europe.

Return to Stresa by boat.

Day 3: Orta Lake villages and wines

Today, you will enjoy a private excursion to Lake Orta, a hidden gem, not to be missed and definitely off-the-beaten path, rich in history and nature with its Sacro Monte and the Island of San Giulio.

The Lake Orta, in the Northern Lakes area less than 10 miles west from Lake Maggiore, is little known although it is undoubtedly one of the most captivating of the lakes. This small tranquil lake is one of the most pristine, Baroque and Neoclassical buildings line the shores, and St. Giulio Island is simply amazing.

The medieval village of Orta San Giulio is truly enchanting, with narrow cobbled streets and a picturesque piazza, lined with arcades and outdoor cafés, overlooking the lake.

Lunch on your own. Orta San Giulio is also renowned for some great restaurants where you can taste the gorgeous recipes from Piedmont. Then, you will reach a winery in Borgomanero, where you will have a private guided visit and wine tasting (Nebbiolo and Vespolino wines). Transfer back to Stresa.

Day 4: Cooking class - Villa Balbianello and Menaggio (Lake Como)

In the morning, you will have your first hands-on cooking class with the chef of your hotel. You will learn the secrets of the Northern Italy cuisine: you will prepare hand made pasta, lasagna, fresh fish or meat dishes, and dessert. At the end of the lesson, you will taste the dishes you have prepared.

In the early afternoon, you will leave Lake Maggiore and drive to Bellagio on the Lake Como. On the way to Bellagio, you will stop in Lenno, where you will meet your guide and visit Villa Balbianello, the “Jewel of Lake Como", the marvelous gardens and private villa.

Then, onto Bellagio, a picturesque village with small streets, luxury hotels, villas, and gardens. The location of Bellagio on the shore of Lake Como is unbeatable and offers the best views on Lake Como. Accommodation will be at the five-star hotel in lake-view room. Dinner at the restaurant of the hotel. From here, you can enjoy the breathtaking panorama of the Lake Como.

Day 5 Bellagio: Cooking lesson

This morning, you will have your private hands-on cooking class in Bellagio with the chef of a renowned restaurant. Your lesson will be focused on rice (superb rice is typical from this area), so before starting your cooking lesson, you will have a tasting of different rice and extra virgin olive oil of this area. Then, you will prepare risotto and ravioli, meat dish, and dessert. Then, you will taste the dishes you have prepared.

In the afternoon, take a walk to Villa Melzi and visit its beautiful gardens.

Day 6: Day at leisure

Day at leisure to relax and enjoy the fascinating atmosphere of those wonderful places. You will be provided with a ferry pass to discover the villages: Tremezzo, where it is suggested that you visit of the botanical garden of Villa Carlotta, Lenno, a small untouched village with breathtaking panorama, Menaggio, and Cadenabbia.

Day 7: Milan

Pick up in the morning and private transfer by car with an English-speaking driver to Milan. Accommodation at a four-star boutique hotel, few steps from Piazza Duomo and via Montenapoleone. Time at leisure for the visit of Milan or for shopping in the chic boutiques of the center.

Day 8: Departure

Morning check out and private transfer to Milan airport.


The tour will take place in Stresa, Bellagio and Milan.


The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • 7 nights accommodation
  • All on-ground transportation within the journey’s duration by private luxury car and English-speaking driver
  • 2 cooking classes and lunch
  • 2 dinners (drinks not included)
  • 1 lunch (drinks not included)
  • Tickets for the visit of the Borromee Islands (gardens and palaces) and Villa Balbianello (garden and palace)
  • One-day ferry pass in Lake Como
  • Visit to the winery and wine tasting on day 3
  • Transfer from and to Milano Malpensa International Airport (MXP)
  • Trip planning
  • Support during your trip available any time

What's not included

  • City tax
  • Insurance
  • International flights
  • All not in the "what is included" section

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Milan-Malpensa Airport (MXP). Transfers from and to this airport are included in the price. Stendhal Tours will pick you up from the airport.

Airport: Milan–Malpensa Airport Airport transfer included: Milan–Malpensa Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 14% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 15 days before arrival.
8 days / 7 nights
from --
Minimum group size

This trip requires a minimum of 2 participants

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