Cycling Italy's Lakes District

  • Itinerary Summary

    Italy's Lakes District has always been a transition zone between peninsular Italy and Alpine Europe. This series of lakes created by the melt-water of alpine glaciers enjoys a unique micro-climate that harbors olive and citrus groves, exotic botanic gardens, villas, and extraordinary vistas. Long an attraction for writers and artists, the Lake District provides an incomparable bicycle experience. You'll cycle from Lago Maggiore to Lake Lugano and Lake Como on this tour.

    ***If this sounds great but you'd prefer a longer tour, check out our Cycling Italy's Lakes District Plus! tour.***
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    1. Day 1: Tour Begins on Lake Maggiore North of Milan

      Highlights: Italy's most famous Alpine lake, Stresa, the Borromean Islands

      Meet this afternoon in Verbania, on the shores of Lake Maggiore, perhaps the most celebrated lake in Italy's lake district. Surrounded by 7,000 foot alpine peaks Lake Maggiore enjoys a warm micro-climate that has attracted vacationers since the Milanese aristocracy began building villas here in the 17th century. Come early and visit the Borromean Islands, including Isola Bella and Isola dei Pescatori (of the "fishermen"), the villas of Stresa, and the botanic gardens of Pallanza. We fit bicycles this afternoon and will suggest a warm up ride for you on a bike path along the lake. Welcome dinner together.

      Distance: 5-10km (3-6 miles). Meals: D

      Lodging: Hotel Ancora

    2. Day 2: Ferry to Laveno, Bicycle to Lugano

      Highlights: Ferry across Lake Maggiore, Lugano Switzerland, Rail to Trail Bike Path to Ponte Tresa, Swiss chocolate

      Enjoy the views across Lake Maggiore and into the high Alps as we ferry across Lake Maggiore to Laveno, the only natural harbor on the east side of the lake. From here you'll pedal into the Cuvia Valley and over a small pass into Val Ganna where we join a rails to trails bike path to Ponte Tresa, where we will cross the border into Switzerland. Our first stop in Switzerland is appropriately at a chocolate factory which also features a small museum. We'll tour the facility and learn more about the history and intricacies of chocolate and immediately use our new knowledge to confirm the quality of production with free samples. Once you are sated continue your ride along Lake Lugano for more great views on the Swiss Alps before arriving in the bustling city of Lugano, your destination for today.

      Distance: 51 km (32 miles); extra ride to Porto Valtravaglia for those who wish. Meals: B, D

      Lodging: June and September at the Hotel International au Lac and the August and September 8th departures will be at the Hotel Lugano Dante

    3. Day 3: Rest Day on the shores of Lake Lugano

      Highlights: Explore the bustling city of Lugano, Campione d'Italia

      This morning you have plenty of options: take a little more time to explore this vibrant city's shopping and museum opportunities; or take the funicular to the top of Monte Bre' for a spectacular view over the lake. For those who want to ride there is the chance to go for a ride along the shores and hills of Lake Lugano your climbing efforts will be rewarded with great views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

      Distance: 35 km (22 miles). Meals: B

      Lodging: Hotel International au Lac

    4. Day 4: Bicycle Lugano, Switzerland to Bellagio, Italy on Lake Como

      Highlights: Ride from Lake Lugano towards the Swiss/Italian border, or ferry on Lugano Lake back to Italy, Menaggio

      Today’s ride is both extremely challenging and very scenic. You’ll start by riding south along the shores of Lake Lugano. In Melano the climb begins as you head towards the Swiss/Italian border. The landscape is once again magnificent with beautiful views of the lake below. You have the opportunity to take an extra ride to the top of “the Sighignola Mountain” also known as “The Balcony of Italy” with a great view of the peaks that surrounds the lake. After that, a demanding descent takes you to Porlezza and a bike path takes you to Menaggio on the shore of Lake Como. Whew -- What a ride!

      If you prefer a relaxing morning instead you can continue your exploration of the city, taking the ferry back to Italy in the early afternoon. You'll disembark in Porlezza and ride to Menaggio. Also called Lario, Lake Como is one of the most beautiful of the Italian Lakes. It is famous for its villas, including Villa d'Este in Cernobbio and Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo.

      Distance: 51 km (32 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Hotel Garni Corona. The September 8th departure will be at: Hotel Belvedere Bellagio

    5. Day 5: Lake Como

      Highlights: Bellagio, Villa Melzi, Villa Serbelloni, Madonna del Ghisallo Bicycle Museum

      There are plenty of opportunities to explore today: Visit the lakeside gardens of Villas Melzi and Serbelloni; ferry to Varenna and visit the gardens of Villa Cipressi and Villa Monastero. If you are looking for a cycling challenge you can pedal to the internationally known Madonna del Ghisallo chapel and bicycle museum at the top of the pass near Magréglio, not far from Bellagio.

      Distance: 26 km (16 miles). Meals: B

      Lodging: Hotel Garni Corona. The September 8th departure will be at: Hotel Belvedere Bellagio

    6. Day 6: Ride to Como

      Highlights: Como, bike path

      Our ride today takes us along the Lecco arm of Lake Como and up a short climb to Asso. From here we head downhill and around Lago del Segrino on a bike path closed to automobile traffic. Our destination is the town of Como at the southern-most end of Lake Como.

      Distance: 46 km (29 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Albergo Terminus

    7. Day 7: Tour ends in Como

      Highlights: Como

      Stick around and explore this lovely city or head to Venice or Milan both well-connected by train. Whatever you do enjoy!

    • Highlights

      Lake Maggiore, Stresa, Lake Lugano, Lugano, Switzerland, Campione d'Italia, Lake Como, Madonna del Ghisallo Bicycle Museum, Two 2-night stays
    • Includes

      Use of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle; 7 days, 6 nights' accommodation; van support; 2 to 3 bilingual tour leaders; all breakfasts, 4 dinners with wine; ferry crossings; guided chocolate factory visit plus "The Usual"
    • Countries

    • Begin/End

      Verbania / Como
    • Arrive/Depart

      Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP)
    • Total Distance

      208 km (128 miles)
    • Daily Distance

      Average distance per riding day 44 km (27 miles)
    • Rating

      301 This is a mountainous area so there will be climbing every day.
    • Terms

      Terms & Conditions
  • Dates Price Private Room Charge Notes
    Sep 8-14, 2017 USD$3945 USD$550 Sold Out! Book it
    Sep 15-21, 2017 USD$3695 USD$550 Guaranteed to Go! Book it

    * We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

  • Stories

    • Meals on Your Bicycle Tour

      Information on how meals work on ExperiencePlus! Bicycle tours

    • Per la Cena or What's for Dinner?

      Bea Tassinari coordinates meals for our tours in Italy and shares her secrets for ordering a great meal.

    • Recipe: Manzo All'Olio Di Rovata

      Our recipe this month, Manzo all'olio (literally "beef in oil"), comes from the city of Rovato, by way of the family kitchen of Michele Boglioni and Monica Price.

    • The Italian Lakes and Wordsworth

      And, Como! Thou, a treasure whom the earth keeps to herself,… thy chestnut woods and garden plots” as William Wordsworth wrote, seemingly breathlessly as he attempted to render his impressions of the marvelous Italian Lakes District into verse.

    • Pedaling on Pasta Power

      University of Oregon's Alumni Magazine highlights Rick and Paola's Story

    • Wonderful Trip! Stunning scenery, great food, great overall experience. The best way to see Italy.

      Cheryl P., Atlanta, GA
    • Superb.

      Philippe A., Paris, France
    • A bike tour for Italy lovers! The Italian Lakes are amazingly beautiful and the cycling routes challenging.

      Dick G., Centennial, CO

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