Curious as to what people have done at the end of this tour. Is Lake Orta worth an extra night? It doesn’t appear easy to travel from Lake Orta to Lake Maggiore or Lake Cuomo, but has anyone done so? Where did you stay (and would you recommend it)? How many days would you recommend staying in Milan prior to flying out? Any other ideas for the end of this trip? Thanks!
Orta is a small very attractive town with an alpine vibe. Lots of interesting nooks and crannies to explore in the town itself. Boat trip to the monastery on an island in the lake and a walk around the grounds, also a lakeside walk and probably other walks. I think an extra day and night in Orta would be enjoyable and the maybe a three nights in Milan? I’d also consider a stop in Turin.
We will be taking that tour shortly and are heading to Wengen, Switzerland for some hiking at the conclusion.
How many days do you have at your disposal?
Turin is in easy reach of Milan if you wanted another city break to cap off the trip.
Get ahold of a guidebook covering the lakes in depth to see all your transport options--once you know the transport linchpins it is easier to sort it all out. it does not look too difficult to get to Stresa, which should be a snap back to Milan.
We stayed 4 days in Milan, if I recall correctly, and we had a wonderful time. We could easily have spent another few days very happily. We've wanted to go back ever since, but Milan just has to get in line, behind Venice, Florence, Lucca, and other places we'd also like to revisit.
We spent 2 nights in Stresa in June and loved it. I believe there is a bus from Lake Orta. There is a bus from Stresa directly to MXP in less than an hour: https://www.safduemila.com/linee/alibus-malpensa-lago-maggiore/
Lake Orta is not far from Lake Maggiore, in the hills above it. We drove down to Lake Maggiore several times when we were staying on Lake Orta. I would definitely choose to stay on Lake Maggiore over Lake Orta.
Lake Como is father away.
Milan is worth three nights to give you two full days. Get tickets to see “The Last Supper” well in advance of your visit. See the Duomo and the Galleria. Lots of great dining in Milan.
I signed up for Villages Italy tour for Sept 2024. Pre-tour I fly into Venice staying 4 nights. Post-tour I will go to Florence the morning the tour ends for 4 nights, then on to Rome for 4 nights before flying home. Feedback from the forum when I signed up for the tour was that Orta is not worth an extra night, but I had not planned to stay longer.
The guide will make arrangements for groups to get to Milan at the end of the tour, either the airport, train stations or hotels. From Milan there are many options for trains or car rental. I went on this tour in April 2023.
Here is a link to my trip report for the Village Italy tour (April-May 2019):
Most tour members left Lake Orta on the morning the tour ended. Lake Orta is very low key and relaxing, but with not a lot to do.
Milan is probably worth a few days' visit. We find that extensive travel after a 14 day RS tour seems anticlimactic. The RS tours are stimulating and somewhat tiring (in a good way).
I will be on the September Village, Italy tour. I am starting with three days in Venice pre- tour, and at end of tour catching a high speed train out of Milan to Florence, three days in Florence then back to Milan for a day see the last supper and then fly home. My friends who have been to Milan many times, often on business are lukewarm about staying more than a couple of days but I know others in the forum are more enthusiastic. I have booked a tour for the Duomo with access to the rooftop and I have booked a ticket for the last supper. If you look at Tripadvisor, and or Viator, you will see there are a number of tours lengthy and short offered. It might give you an idea of what you might like to do whether guided or not. Hope to report after this year‘s trip.
I’m thinking one night in Stressa and two nights in Milan before flying out. What do you think? Since the tour is basically over first thing Friday morning, we’d have most of Friday plus Saturday morning in Stressa, then Saturday late afternoon and all day Sunday in Milan, flying home on Monday. I know everyone goes to Milan to see the last supper, but we don’t feel the need to see that. Not sure what else we’d want to do there. We could add an extra day to the trip, but are planning an entire week of independent travel prior to the start of the tour, and I do need to go back to work. Are we trying to do too much by staying in 2 different places before we leave?
We stayed an extra night in Milan after our 2016 tour. We had already seen the Last Supper and the Duomo roof (which is well worth seeing), but the friends we traveled with hadn't seen that, so we waited for them while they did that. We had tickets to La Scala that evening, and returned the next day. Milan is definitely worth a few days, even if you aren't opera aficionados as we are!
Choose based on what you like to do, there is nothing wrong with just using Milan to fly out. There are surely other sights in Milan--read up to see what you would find interesting. I would stay on the lakes longer and do the minimum in Milan, but it's not my trip!
I did enjoy walking in Navigli and looking at the antique market when I was there.