The Cinque Terre, Portofino & Lake Maggiore

8 Days from £1009 | September 1009

This Italian holiday takes you to the millionaires’ haunts of Portofino and Santa Margherita Ligure (where you spend four nights), and takes in the spectacular landscapes of the Cinque Terre and Lake Maggiore. Along the way you will travel on the picturesque ‘Three Valleys Railway’ into the heart of Columbus’ maritime city of Genoa.

The Cinque Terre, Portofino & Lake Maggiore

Past Customer Satisfaction Score for this holiday* - 81%
* as measured from holiday questionnaires - see FAQ for details

  • Three nights hb Lago Maggiore, 4 nights hb Santa Margherita Ligure
  • Walk in Italian Lakeland
  • Walks in Cinque Terre, and to Portofino

DAY ONE: Flight to Milan, transfer to your hotel on Lake Maggiore for two nights half board accommodation. Transfer times from Malpensa and Bergamo are 30 minutes and 1 ½ hours respectively.

DAY TWO: Half-day walking excursion. You walk to catch the train up the lake. From the station at Fondotoce, you ascend 150m to the little hamlet of Montorfano, which has stunning views over Lake Maggiore. You continue down a gently sloping path to Mergozzo, a small village on the shores of its own little lake. There is time to explore this typical village and have lunch. You catch the train back from here. A gentle walk, approx 2 hours, 150m climb and descent.

DAY THREE: Today you travel south by private coach to the Riviera di Levante. Your first stop is Vercelli, a historic town surrounded by paddy-fields (rice is exported worldwide from here). You continue south, stopping for lunch en route, before you arrive at Casella, north of Genoa, to board the ‘Three Valleys Train’.

In Genoa you will see something of the restored port and old city centre before you complete your journey by coach to the chic resort of Santa Margherita Ligure, where you spend four nights on a half board basis.

Santa Margherita lies in a sheltered bay, close to Portofino. Its harbour is home to many gin-palace luxury yachts. All of this is close to your hotel. Total today 160 miles, mainly motorway.

DAYS FOUR TO SIX: In Santa Margherita with included walking excursions to the Cinque Terre and Portofino, and a free day.

Cinque Terre: The spectacular coastline, hills and villages landscapes of the Cinque Terre are UNESCO-listed and within the National Park, where the mountains drop almost vertically into the sea. Road access is very limited. You walk to the station in Santa Margherita (600m) and take the train to Monterosso (one hour), in the Cinque Terre. After a tour of the old medieval town, you walk to the next village, Vernazza. The trail is narrow; there are many steps built by the local farmers to get to their vineyards and lemon groves. The walk takes about 2 ½ hours with an ascent/descent of 300m. Once you reach Vernazza, you have time for lunch and to enjoy the best-known town of the National Park. You then continue by train to Manarola (7 minutes) to visit the village and walk a short but spectacular loop (ascent/descent 100m) called “The Vineyards Trail” with breathtaking views of the town and coast. After some free time, you travel back to Santa Margherita by train.

The destination for your third walk is Portofino. You start your day with a walk through Santa Margherita Ligure, admiring its beautiful baroque church and the garden of Villa Durazzo. At the end of the sea promenade you take an old mule path up through the woods for excellent views of the bay. You continue through the woods to the most spectacular section of the walk, overlooking all the Tigullio Gulf from Sestri Levante (12 miles distant) to Portofino. The trail goes through a valley of the ancient olive mills to finally reach Portofino. Actual walking time is about 3 hours, 4 miles, with 200m of ascent/ descent, but you take all morning, with a lunch break in the valley of mills and arrive in Portofino in the early afternoon. Portofino’s colourful hotchpotch of fisherman’s houses embraces its harbour and the luxury craft of the nearby villa-owners. Above the harbour is Brown’s Castle, and there are good views from the church. Weather permitting, you return to Santa Margherita by boat (15-minute trip). If the seas are too choppy, you return by public bus service.

DAY SEVEN: You leave Santa Margherita and travel north, following a slightly different route to take in the cathedral city of Pavia. You arrive at Lake Maggiore in the afternoon, for one night, again on a half board basis. Total today 152 miles, mainly motorway.

DAY EIGHT: Free time until your transfer to the airport for your return flight.

If you have friends who are not walkers interested in this itinerary, we also offer it with a touring programme.

Please note: there is a local city tax in Stresa of 2 euros per person per day. It is not included in the price of the holiday and will be payable by hotel guests directly to the hotel.


The Cinque Terre, Portofino & Lake Maggiore

Past Customer Satisfaction Score for this holiday* - 81%
* as measured from holiday questionnaires - see FAQ for details

HOTEL MILAN SPERANZA AU LAC ****, Stresa (first two and last nights)
This four-star hotel is in two adjacent buildings in the centre of  Stresa, overlooking the lake and opposite the boat station. The Speranza has a pleasant street-front café while the Milan houses the hotel restaurant. All rooms have bath or shower, wc, hairdryer and satellite tv. Lake view rooms are available at a supplement. Milan Speranza guests have use of the swimming pool at the nearby Hotel Regina Palace. (
Past Customer Satisfaction Score for this hotel* - 80%
*as measured from holiday questionnaires - see FAQ for details
HOTEL JOLANDA ***, Santa Margherita Ligure (four nights)
The Hotel Jolanda is ideally located in a quiet street in the heart of Santa Margherita, just 200 yards from the pedestrianised town centre. The boat stop and railway station are 8-10 minutes walk away. Rooms are comfortably furnished with bath/shower, wc, hairdryer, minibar, safety box, and satellite tv. There is a garden area, fitness room, safe, spa area and wifi (charges apply to the last two). (
Past Customer Satisfaction Score for this hotel* - 74%
*as measured from holiday questionnaires - see FAQ for details
Walking Holiday - The Cinque Terre, Portofino & Lake Maggiore
Holiday code: 7WPC
Supplements per person:
Single Room: £140
Twin/Double Lake View (Maggiore): £39
Supplements on some holidays vary by departure date - the applicable price will be shown when booking.

Fly FromDateDaysAirlineDep.Rtn.AvailabilityPriceFly ToSingle

AberdeenTue 24/09/20198BA via LHR11051730Fully Booked1129Milan Malpensa140 (on request)0ABZ17WPCD5

BirminghamTue 24/09/20198Flybe11101610Fully Booked1069Milan Malpensa140 (on request)0BHX17WPCD5

BristolTue 24/09/20198Ryanair20500810Fully Booked1059Bergamo140 (on request)0BRS17WPCD5

DublinTue 24/09/20198Ryanair06151145Fully Booked1059Bergamo140 (on request)0DUB17WPCD5

East MidlandsTue 24/09/20198Ryanair13251810Fully Booked1059Bergamo140 (on request)0EMA17WPCD5

EdinburghTue 24/09/20198Easyjet20151945Fully Booked1009Milan Malpensa140 (on request)0EDI17WPCD5

HeathrowTue 24/09/20198BA15101245Fully Booked1049Milan Malpensa140 (on request)0LHR17WPCD5

LiverpoolTue 24/09/20198Ryanair14001335Fully Booked1009Milan Malpensa140 (on request)0LPL17WPCD5

London GatwickTue 24/09/20198Easyjet13451440Fully Booked1009Milan Malpensa140 (on request)0LGW17WPCD5

LutonTue 24/09/20198Easyjet07201155Fully Booked1009Milan Malpensa140 (on request)0LTN17WPCD5

ManchesterTue 24/09/20198Easyjet16551615Fully Booked1009Milan Malpensa140 (on request)0MAN17WPCD5

NewcastleTue 24/09/20198BA via LHR11401555Fully Booked1129Milan Malpensa140 (on request)0NCL17WPCD5

StanstedTue 24/09/20198Ryanair08452359Fully Booked1009Milan Malpensa140 (on request)0STN17WPCD5

Prices shown include carriage of one piece of hold luggage per person (maximum size and weights vary). Prices include return transfers between airport and hotel and are based on the shared occupancy of twin/double standard rooms. Please refer to 'Accommodation' for details of any room supplements (including single rooms) and extended stay costs that apply to this holiday. All flight details are provisional and subject to confirmation when known. All holidays are subject to minimum numbers and are subject to availability. Further details in our FAQ.

Data as at 17/08/2019 at 22:47:06

This was our ninth Walking Holiday with Preferred Travel Services and one of the best. The walks complemented each other perfectly with the variety of coast and countryside and the guide for each walk very knowledgeable and tailoring the walks to suit the group. Pauline (Tour Manager) was always on hand if required, but never intrusive. The hotels were a good standard and the weather warm and sunny - all the ingredients for an enjoyable holiday. Hope to be booking our tenth holiday with Preferred Travel Services next year.

Mr & Mrs H, Kent

Great holiday. Well organised. Thank you, Preferred Travel. Look forward to our next PTS holiday.

Mr & Mrs P, Helensburgh

We have just returned from our first holiday with Preferred Travel. The holiday fulfilled all our expectations, from the flights being on time, to all the tours working well and even the weather was perfect! We have been on many European tours and been disappointed at being put in sub-standard hotels. The two hotels used by Preferred Travel were excellent. A special thank you to the guide who worked so hard to make the holiday interesting giving lots of information and history on the areas we visited. A memorable holiday!

Mr & Mrs B, Devon

Brilliant holiday! First time on an escorted tour and our tour guide’s warmth and sincerity in caring for our very large group made our holiday even more special. Thank you.

Mr & Mrs V, Essex

Wonderful holiday, excellent in every detail - accommodation, food and service. Tour guide looked after us extremely well and was very attentive to everyone. She was also extremely knowledgeable and I can recommend this holiday to everyone.

Mrs Y, West Midlands

Walks were fantastic. Guides were excellent and added knowledge of area – not just a walk! Representative warm and welcoming from first meeting. Clear explanations. In charge but not bossy, fun, approachable, professional. Really good leader. Good group, good flight times, good hotels, Great Representative. What More?! Thank you.

Mr G, Yorkshire

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Don't forget, we fly from 20 airports right across the UK.
Most of our holidays include half board as standard.
All of our holidays have included visits and tours.

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The Cinque Terre, Portofino & Lake Maggiore