Cycling Italy’s Lakes District Plus!

Cycling Italy's Lakes District Plus!
  • Length 11 days
  • From USD$5995
  • Style/Level Classic 3.0
  • Countries Italy
  • Begin/End Verbania / Salò
See related tours

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 in Switzerland onward to Lake Como, Lago d’Iseo and the finale on the shores of Lake Garda. Along the way you’ll have a guided tour of Bergamo Alta – one of our favorite cities in Italy, where you will enjoy a sampling of fine Franciacorta sparkling wine and learn more about its history from a local vintner.

***If this sounds great but you’d prefer a shorter tour, check out our Cycling Italy’s Lakes District tour.***

Highlights

  • Lake Maggiore, Stresa, Lake Lugano, Lugano, Switzerland, Campione d’Italia, Lake Como, Madonna del Ghisallo Bicycle Museum, Four 2-night stays, Bergamo Alta, Monte Isola, Franciacorta sparkling wine tasting, Lake Garda

Includes

  • 11 days, 10 nights accommodation

  • meals as noted in itinerary, 1 wine tastings

  • Bergamo Alta guided tour

  • ferry crossings

  • All Classic tour inclusions

Keep in mind

We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

The currencies on tour will be Euros in Italy and Swiss Francs in Switzerland, though Euros will be accepted in Switzerland as well. Please note that it is not possible to withdraw Euros from ATMs in Switzerland with US-American credit cards.


Date Price Private room fee Note
Sep 6-16, 2024 USD$5995 USD$650 Sold out – wait list available.
DateSep 6-16, 2024
PriceUSD$5995
Private room feeUSD$650
NoteSold out – wait list available.

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  • Total distance 410 km (253 miles)
  • Average daily distance 51 km (32 miles)
  • Tour style Classic
  • Tour level 3.0

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.

Meals : Dinner
Lodging : Grand Hotel Majestic

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. Your ride continues along Lake Lugano for more great views on the Swiss Alps before arriving in the bustling city of Lugano, your destination for today.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Lodging : Hotel International au Lac

Highlights: Explore the bustling city of Lugano, loop ride

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.

Meals : Breakfast
Lodging : Hotel International au Lac

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

Unlike Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano, which are shared between Italy and Switzerland, Lake Como is strictly Italian. Lake Como (also called Lario) 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. There is a shorter (15 km – 10 miles) and easier ride option available. We’ll spend the next two nights on the shores of Lake Como.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Lodging : Hotel du Lac e La Dependance , Grand Hotel Cadenabbia

Highlights: 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.

Meals : Breakfast
Lodging : Hotel du Lac e La Dependance , Grand Hotel Cadenabbia

Highlights: Como, lakeside riding

Our ride today takes us along the Lecco arm of Lake Como and up a short climb to Asso. From here we head downhill towards the plain. Our destination is the famous city of Como at the southern-most end of Lake Como.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Lodging : Albergo Firenze

Highlights: Bergamo Alta, Lago d’Iseo

You’ll shuttle to the striking medieval city of Bergamo Alta (“High Bergamo”) for a guided visit of the center of town and its imposing 16th century Venetian walls. Bergamo is one of the few Italian cities to escape destruction during the World Wars, so its architectural history is well preserved. A stroll through the Piazza Vecchia, the heart of the town, as well as a visit to one of the Palazzi or the Basilica or Duomo, are well worth it before you enjoy lunch. Another shuttle takes you to our destination for the night, Lago d’Iseo, a smaller version of the larger alpine lakes we’ve seen so far. Bordering the lake to the south is the densely cultivated Franciacorta region, famous for its sparkling white wines. The dense network of vineyards, church-topped hills and scattering of cypress trees here remind some people of Tuscany.

Meals : Breakfast
Lodging : Iseo Lago Hotel

Highlights: Wine country, views of Monte Isola, Lake Iseo

Enjoy more lake views today as you cycle north along the shore of the lake before taking the ferry to Monte Isola, literally Mount Island, a massive mountain that emerges 1200 feet from the lake surface. On Monte Isola, you’ll enjoy car-free cycling around the island and stunning views of the surrounding mainland. Be sure to take time to stop at the old fisherman villages for a unique perspective into local life. Back on the mainland we’ll take a short ferry ride, and bicycle back to our hotel. We’ll visit a local winery and sample this delicious sparkling wine before dinner together.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Lodging : Iseo Lago Hotel , Riva Lago , Hotel Araba Fenice

Highlights: Brescia, Salò

Leave the Franciacorta wine region today to pedal east toward the last famous lake of the Italian Lakes region: Lake Garda. Traditionally a holiday “playground” for Germans and Austrians, Garda is the largest of Italy’s alpine lakes and formed part of the border between Lombardy and the Venetian Republic from 1549 until 1797. With a micro-climate that once allowed cultivation of lemons and still produces olives for oil Lake Garda’s economy is diverse and healthy. You’ll be on the eastern shores of Lake Garda tonight, on the Lombard side.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Lodging : Hotel Laurin

Highlights: Vineyards and olive groves, relax by the lake

Pedal through the Lugana wine region where olive groves and vineyards abound. You’ll make your way through an intricate network of roads, following valleys and ridges offering views over the Lake Garda and the Alps. Choose a beach and take a dip. If you prefer you can take the day off the bike and explore Salò or take a ferry for a cruise on the lake. This evening we’ll enjoy a celebratory dinner together.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Lodging : Hotel Laurin

Highlights: Tour ends with a shuttle To Brescia train station

We’ll shuttle you to the nearby city of Brescia for trains to Milan, Venice or Rome

Meals : Breakfast

Visit our Tour Level page to learn more about terrain levels and how we determine day and tour levels.



Pre-trip planning checklist



  • Challenging climbs, with less challenging days, unbelievably gorgeous scenery, excellent food, including local lake fish, high end wine tastings, interesting city tours with knowledgeable local guides, and tour guides who went out of their way to make the experience special.

    Jeff B., Philadelphia, PA
  • Beautiful scenery! Fantastic food 🙂 Interesting rides!

    Lou G., Fort Collins, CO – June 2017
  • We had a great time with good friends, biking around the lake district. This is the first time I used an e-bike, which made the hills much more manageable. The area of Italy was gorgeous…delicious food, beautiful roads. What a fabulous vacation!

    Anne V., Edgartown, MA – September 2017