Traveller Story: Beautiful Italian Lakes and Beyond


Albatross Traveller

Traveller Story: Beautiful Italian Lakes and Beyond

Gillian and her husband travelled on our Italian Lakes & Tuscany tour in September 2017. Gillian loved discovering Italy and having the chance to relax of an afternoon to soak up the atmosphere.



Gillian Stevens

What tour did you travel on?

Italian Lakes & Tuscany

When did you travel? 

September, 2017

Why did you select this particular tour?

It is an area we have always wanted to visit and we chose Albatross because of the longer stays, small groups and relaxed pace. We were not disappointed.


Who did you travel with?

My husband

Have you travelled with Albatross Tours previously?

This was our first tour, but when we finished Italy, we flew to Madrid and completed 18 days in Spain and Portugal.

What was your favourite places on your Albatross tour?

Stresa, Lake Maggiore. I really enjoyed visiting the island Isola Bella and touring the palatial Borromeo villa and gardens. Lake Orta and Lake Como were also beautiful.


What was the most amazing thing you saw or did on your Albatross tour?

The tour of the Cinque Terre villages was beautiful. Portovenere was amazing and as they were to unveil the new Ferrari that evening, the town square was set up for this function and there was a real buzz. The harbour was full of very large and beautiful yachts, almost like small cruise ships they were so big. The rich, famous and beautiful were strolling the square and the new Ferrari was under cover and surrounded by security.


Tell us about your most memorable moment on tour?

In Lucca our lovely guide Gianfranco discovered there was a Puccini concert whilst we were in the city. He investigated the pricing and for €35 each he arranged for drinks and canapés in our hotel bar, we then walked the cobbled streets to a deconsecrated church, with wonderful acoustics, where we enjoyed two amazing male opera singers and a beautiful pianist for a 1 hour concert. After the concert Gianfranco took us for a stroll to hidden places in Lucca we may have missed and then a gelato on the way back to our hotel. It was so kind of him to organise this and spend his free evening with our group. We all attended and just loved it.


What was your favourite meal on tour?

On our first night in Lucca the group walked to a local restaurant for a beautiful meal and wine. The evening was fine when we started, but a very heavy thunder storm happened during our meal. No one had taken an umbrella. We had a wonderful 85 year old in our group and she noticed the tablecloths had a plastic feel and she suggested we could use them as a rain cover.. The owner gave us one each and we ran through the cobbled streets, looking like "the flying nun", it was so funny, especially when a few got lost on the way back. One poor couple did a full loop and ended up back at the restaurant. Our biggest regret is that it was raining so hard, no one took a photo!


What advice do you have for anyone interested in travelling on this tour?

Just enjoy every amazing day. Walk the cobbled street, where you will constantly get lost in the narrow lanes; enjoy a coffee and in the afternoon, sit in a square, sip an Apple spritz and enjoy the passing parade.


Would you recommend this tour to family and friends? If so, why?

The relaxed pace and having late afternoons and evenings free to relax with a book, take a dip in the pool, or explore off the beaten track. The long stays are great as you are not constantly repacking, the washing is always up to date and you have a chance to get use to a bed and hopefully get a good night’s sleep. The small group, with a maximum of 28 travellers over the European summer months, in a full-size coach is great and you can all have a window, if you wish.

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