Cycling Italy's Lakes District

Cycling Italy's Lakes District

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.***

Tour Dates & Prices

Date
Price
Private Room Fee
Note
Jun 24-30, 2022
USD$3995
USD$550
 
Sep 9-15, 2022
USD$3995
USD$550
 

* 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.

Tour Style: Classic Book This Trip Now Hold-A-Space/Questions Request Custom Date Download Itinerary Tour Map
  • Trip At-A-Glance
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
  • Map
  • Reviews
  • Similar Tours
Trip At-A-Glance

Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 7 Days
  • Total Distance / 208 km (128 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / Average distance per riding day 44 km (27 miles) per riding day
  • Tour Level & Tour Style / 3.5 Classic
  • Countries / Italy
  • Begin/End / Verbania / Como
  • Price / From USD$3995
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Tour Summary

Tour Summary

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

    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.
  • Includes
    7 days, 6 nights' accommodation; meals as noted in itinerary; ferry crossings; and the usual (see below).

    Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Classic tour at the Classic Tour Style page.
  • Arrive / Depart
    Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP)
  • Overall Tour Level
    3.5 difficulty level 3.5

    This is a hilly/mountainous area so be prepared for some steep climbs and descents every day.

  • Daily Ride Summary

    Day

    Distance/Gain
    mi/ftkm/m

    Terrain

    Day Level

    Notes

    1
    Test ride
    2
    58km / 887m
    Hilly
    difficulty level 3.5
    3
    24km / 556m
    Very hilly
    difficulty level 3.0
    Today's ride is an optional loop ride
    4
    63km / 979m
    Mountainous
    difficulty level 4.0
    5
    37km / 962m
    Very hilly
    difficulty level 3.5
    Today's ride is an optional loop ride
    6
    47km / 793m
    Very hilly
    difficulty level 3.5
    7
    Last day

Terrain Legend

Gentle Gentle

Rolling hills Rolling hills

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary
Download Itinerary

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.

The September 11 departure will be at the Hotel Ancora.

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. 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.

DAY 3: Rest Day on the shores of Lake Lugano

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.

DAY 4: Bicycle Lugano to Menaggio, Lake Como

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.

DAY 5: Menaggio on Lake Como

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.

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 on a bike path closed to automobile traffic. Our destination is the town of Como at the southern-most end of Lake Como.

  • Distance: 47km (29mi)
  • Gain: 793m (2601ft)
  • Terrain: Very hilly
  • Day Level: difficulty level 3.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

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!

  • Meals: Breakfast
Travel Information

Travel Information

Day 1: Arrival Information

Tour Begins on Lake Maggiore North of Milan

Meeting time 2 p.m. - on Day 1, meet your fellow cyclists and Tour Leaders at the Day 1 Hotel specified on the itinerary.

Note:

As you are planning, remember that the hotels listed in our itineraries are our primary hotels and are - in rare cases - subject to change. Before you make arrangements, check with us if your tour departure is guaranteed. If your tour departure is out further than 6 months, please also check with us as there might be slight changes to the itinerary.

The below information will help you plan your arrival. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio. The fare and timing information listed below is approximate.

We recommend flying into the Milano Malpensa Airport (MXP). If you arrive from within Europe, you will likely arrive at the Milano Linate Airport (LIN).

Arriving at Milano Malpensa and continuing to Intra-Verbania:

  1. Airport Shuttle from the Malpensa terminal to Verbania Pallanza (stop is called Piazza Antonio Gramsci) ( reservations required but payment in cash only on board) (1.5 hours/EUR 15)
  2. Taxi from the bus stop to the hotel (15 min/EUR 15 – 20 ). Note: If you are on the September 11 departure, you can walk from the Imbarcardero Vecchio stop to the hotel. Follow the main road with the water on your left side. The hotel is on the right in 150 meters.
  • Or: Taxi from the Malpensa Airport to the Day Hotel (1 hour/EUR 135-150)

Look up Italian train schedules at Trenitalia.com or Trainline.eu. Questions? See our information on taking trains in Europe here or ask us.

Day 7: Departure Information

Tour ends in Como

Your trip ends on the final day after breakfast.

The below information will help you plan your departure. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio

The closest Airport is Milano Malpensa Airport (MXP):

  1. Walk from ending hotel to the Como Nord Lago train station (5 min)
  2. Train from Como Nord Lago to Malpensa Aeroporto (pre-booking not necessary) (1 hour 18 min/fares vary)

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.

Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

To Do Today!

  • Read through your Reservation Confirmation Email, it has important information to help you plan your trip!
  • Check the date on your passport. The expiration date should extend three months past your date of return to your home country
  • Complete the Customer Information Form online at www.experienceplus.com/travelinfo/tourcif
  • Apply for trip cancellation/interruption insurance within 15 days of booking. Find details at this page
  • Download the bicycle training program found on the Training Program Blog Page at www.experienceplus.com/training

3–6 Months Prior to Departure

  • Reserve your flights after you know you have a confirmed tour departure. Please check with our office if you do not know if your trip is confirmed. As you make your plans refer to the Getting To and Away sent to you in your booking confirmation email it provides meeting times and the starting and ending hotels and shuttle information when applicable.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights. Please refer to the Getting To and Away sheet you received in your Reservation Confirmation Email.
  • 12 weeks before your tour begin your training program found on this page.
  • Final payment is due 90 days prior to the tour start. Please refer to your Deposit Payment Invoice and the Final Payment Reminder e-mail you have received for detailed instructions.

6 Weeks–2 Weeks Prior to Departure

Day of Your Flight

Get as much sleep on the plane as you can. Pack your Getting To and Away information and one day of cycling gear in your carry-on. See you soon!

What to Expect on Tour

Classic Tour Style

Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Classic tour at the Classic page.

Map

Map

Reviews

Reviews

  • A blast; lifetime experience. A great ride! Looking forward to the 2019 tour!

    Kurt D., Greeley, CO - September 2018
  • Thank you for a fun tour!

    Gina L., San Francisco, CA - September 2018
  • We went into this trip thinking it would be a trip of a lifetime. Very quickly, we figured out that there was no way that we could only have this experience once in our lives and are already dreaming of the next one. I loved the cycling, including the scenery and the independence of cycling either with my husband, on my own or with others from the group at a pace of my choice. I loved that our days had a great balance between cycling, sight seeing, food, and downtime. I loved the guides sharing their culture with us and getting to know the interesting people in our group. Thanks for everything. We can''t wait to go again!

    Eileen M., Fort Collins, CO - August 2018
  • 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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