Reaching Isola Maggiore

How to reach Isola Maggiore

When it comes to travelling to Isola Maggiore, there is no ‘one size fits all’ journey … it depends on which direction and airport you’re coming from.

Whichever you choose, there are trains along the way – which could be the ‘regionale’ service, the Intercity, or one of the super-fast Freccias.  As you’d expect, by its very nature as the perfect place for a retreat, Isola Maggiore takes a little more getting to than taking a shuttle bus from an airport.

For me, travelling is a big part of the adventure – arming myself with the itinerary I’ve planned, settling down on a train, watching the changing Italian scenery and all that brings with it … washing strung across balconies, quiet little stations, then hill towns shimmering in the distance. And lastly, of course, the small ferry heading out across the lake.

Ferries are operated by and leave from three places along the shoreline - Passignano del Lago, Tuoro sul Lago, and Castiglione del Lago – all served by trains.

It’s impossible to list all the options here, but these are three I’ve followed up to now:

Manchester to Pisa by, train into Pisa Centrale, train to Passignano sul Lago, changing at Firenze (Florence).  On my return, I took the ferry to Castiglione and picked up the express to Rome for an overnight stay before flying back to Manchester.

Stansted to Perugia by Ryanair, airport bus into Perugia station, then train to Passignano.  Returning, I did the journey in reverse, but took in a night in Perugia on the way – well worth seeing.

The even more scenic route … with no planes involved.  Eurostar to Paris, TGV high speed train to Zurich. Overnight in Zurich and a day to explore. Early morning train from Zurich to Chur to pick up the wonderful narrow gauge Bernina Express over Alpine gradients and down into Torino, then Italian train on to Milan. Overnight in Milan, and on to Passignano.   I returned by the fast route – two hour train from Castiglione to Rome, the Leonardo Express to Fiumicino international airport, then a flight to Leeds Bradford.

When it comes to planning train travel, there's excellent advice from the Man in Seat 61. If you’re just looking for the train timetables, visit trenitalia or loco2.

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