Meet: Como, Italy
Return: Lake Garda, Italy
Itinerary: Click photo for details
Activity level: This multi-activity trip requires a decent level of fitness, as you will be doing some kayaking, cycling and a fair amount of walking. Some of the treks involve steep hills and steps that you’ll need to be able to climb, although sometimes there are easier, alternative routes you can take. Daily walking times vary between three and six hours.
Pamper the appetite and treat the senses on this exquisite journey through Italy’s Lake District and the staggering peaks of Switzerland’s St. Moritz. Stroll the forested paths around Lakes Como and Garda, unwind through the Dolomite highlands and just keep whetting and sating that appetite with classic Italian delicacies. Ferry to and fro between lake villages and villas that keep getting prettier, and clamber about the crumbling ruins of medieval castles. Idyllic in setting, laid-back in lifestyle, and a gastronomist’s delight, this jaunt through one of Europe’s most charming nooks shouldn’t disappoint. And if it does, take the issue up with one of the local residents – like Sting or George Clooney.
Buongiorno! Welcome to Italy. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting today at 6pm, where you’ll meet your fellow travellers and group leader. After the meeting, the evening is free, so why not take a wander around this historic town and enjoy a drink in the main square or along the lake shore, before going for dinner at one of the nearby traditional restaurants.
May 20, Jun.3, Jun.24
Lake Como (Lago di Como) is an area of stunning beauty full of unique and evocative landscapes. Discover the central part of Lake Como by boat. We go ashore in Bellagio, the ‘pearl of the lake’, situated on the Punta Spartivento, where the two arms of Lake Como meet. Embark on a scenic walk through the delightful countryside, past the charming fishing village of Pescallo and several scenic hamlets. Back down at the lake discover the grand estate of the Villa Melzi, which is set into gardens filled with rare and exotic plant life. Next is a kayaking adventure which brings you all around the headland of Bellagio. Back in Como take a stroll through the medieval town centre, before enjoying a drink in the main square or along the lake shore.
Walking Distance/Time: Approx 7 km, 2,5 hours
Taxes are included
There are many options to spend a day in Como: Explore Villa Olmo or Villa D’Este. Travelling by boat to other lakeside villages in this southern part of the lake is also a worthwhile experience. Cernobbio is surrounded by beautiful villas and has a wonderful relaxed atmosphere. For the hikers there are several nice walks in the near surroundings such as the trail network in the state park of Spina Verde. Another possibility is to travel into Switzerland and hike Monte Generoso. This is an amazing walk which includes an train ride on Europe’s oldest tourist train. Views stretch from Lake Lugano to Lake Como.
After an early breakfast, head out for a day in the majestic mountains – partly in Italy and partly in Switzerland. Drive to the northern edge of Lake Como for some shopping and kick back with a chinotto in Chiavenna (approximately 50 minutes). Upon entering Switzerland, travel along a scenic road to the St Moritz area, making a stop at Passo Maloja along the way (approximately 1 hour). Take an easy but spectacular excursion to the Morteratsch Glacier, where you can choose to enjoy a picnic lunch while taking in the incredible view. You will return to Italy on the Bernina Express, a small local train operating directly from Morteratsch. The train will take you past mountain peaks and glacier lakes before descending steeply into the valley. This train journey is one of the most spectacular in the world and definitely a highlight of the trip (approximately 2 hours). Arrive back into the Italian town of Tirano (Tiran), where you’ll spend the night.
Walking Distance/Time: Approx 6 km, 3 hours
After breakfast, drive to Lake Garda (approximately 4.5 hours). This route takes you along some of Italy’s famous mountain chains, including the Dolomites. En route there is the option for a stunning walk through archetypical mountain scenery. Upon arrival there will be some time to explore the pretty town of Riva del Garda, a town which appears almost more Austrian than Italian. There is some time for discovery, a drink and perhaps some shopping before continuing to our hotel. Your base is at the most northern point of the lake. When you arrive you’ll discover the great and varied landscapes around Lake Garda.
Walking Distance/Time: Approx 5 km, 2 hours
Take a boat from the northern and more alpine side of the lake to the southern side (which has a more Mediterranean feel), passing many photogenic villages en route. Go ashore in the town of Garda itself, nicknamed the ‘Pearl of Lake Garda’. It is dominated by its ‘rocca’ (rock), complete with an abbey and the remains of a medieval castle. You will take a short and leisurely walking tour through the village before climbing up towards the abbey, where, after a steep but short and pleasant climb, you will be rewarded with beautiful views over the lake. You may wish to spend some time here on the lake, have a drink or relax in the park.
Walking Distance/Time: Approx 8 km, 3 hours
The next morning embark on a bike ride along the shores of Lake Garda, taking in the glorious scenery of the glistening lake in front of you and the towering Alps behind you. Depending on weather, fitness and interest of the group several rides are possible. The ride to Riva del Garda is mostly flat, but there are several other options to choose from. Explore several remains of WWI in a place which until 100 years ago was the border between Austria and Italy. In the afternoon there are several options for short walks: Opt for spectacular Monte Brione, a natural balcony on Lake Garda, or walk the beautiful scenic trail of the Busatte towards Malcesine. The more energetic hikers can opt to explore Monte Baldo, the highest mountain of Lake Garda, or choose to reach it by cable car.
After breakfast this morning your Italian Lakes adventure comes to an end. From nearby Verona it’s easy to travel by rail to other major destinations in Italy.