Days
8
Price from
€2,355EUR

Explore the beautiful Italian Lakes region on foot

For centuries, the Italian lakes have inspired poets, artists and travellers with their majestic beauty. You’ll find it hard to resist the charm of this region as you walk through vineyards, olive groves, and past luxurious villas – oh and maybe George Clooney!


Start
Milan, Italy
Finish
Verona, Italy
Countries
Italy, Switzerland
Style
Peregrine
Theme
Walking
Code
PELD
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
16 reviews
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • After exploring the St Moritz area, experience one of the most spectacular alpine train trips in the world – the Bernina Express to Tirano

  • A cruise on Lake Como takes you to the picturesque waterfront villages of Bellagio and Tremezzo, home to the must-see Villa Melzi and Villa Carlotta

  • There are several guided hikes included, but not without opportunities to unwind. The walk to Morteratsch Glacier is easy, and there's flexibility on some days if you'd rather spend more time relaxing

  • Explore Lake Garda from many angles. In the north, it's bordered by impressive rocky cliffs; in the south, by vineyards and olive groves

  • Varenna and Verona are two of Italy's most romantic old towns – the perfect balance to the pulsing modernity of Milan

Is this trip right for you?

  • As accommodation on this trip is twin-share, single travellers will share a room with another traveller of the same gender. If you’d prefer not to share, a single room supplement is often available (at an additional charge).

  • In some hotels, a single supplement exclusion applies where single rooms are not available. Note that hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together or apart.

  • You will need to be in good health and able to walk for a few hours at a time. There are some up-and-down sections, and the terrain varies from well-defined paths to rocky trails, up to an altitude of 2000m above sea level. The incredible scenery is of course well worth the exertion. 

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 09 October 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Arrive in Milan (Milano), Italy's second largest city and the capital of Lombardy, Italy's wealthiest province. Milan Central station (Milano Centrale) is one of Italy's and Europe's main rail hubs for both domestic and international routes, so it’s easy to arrive by train from other Italian cities or European destinations. No activities are planned for today, so you may arrive at any time. Please make your own way to the joining hotel – it's centrally located and close to all the major sights. In the evening you will meet your trip leader and fellow travellers at a welcome meeting (this is usually at 6 pm, but check the hotel reception or noticeboard for the exact time and place). At this meeting, your leader will give you a briefing on what lies ahead. Afterwards, the evening is yours to spend as you please. Perhaps enjoy some dinner in a local traditional restaurant.

Notes: Arriving/departing by train where possible is recommended, as it's not only a great way to see Europe but also a relatively low-carbon mode of transport.
Accommodation
  • Gran Duca Di York or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy a walking tour of Milan this morning. See the Gothic Duomo, the city's most famous building – walking in between the sculptures on its roof is an amazing experience. Walk through the beautiful Galleria, to the Teatro alla Scala, arguably Italy’s most famous opera house. Explore some shops in the fashion district, and visit the medieval castle and its beautiful park. Lunch is optional today – you can choose to eat in a local restaurant or pick up a ‘panino’ if you prefer. In the early afternoon you will drive north to Lake Como (Lago di Como), an area of stunning beauty, full of unique and evocative landscapes. Stop en route for a stroll around the medieval town centre of Como. There will be time for a drink, either on Como's amazing town square or along the lake shore, before driving around the western side of the lake to your base for the night. To recover from the hectic city life, you'll stay for one night in the quaint mountain village of Breglia, high above Menaggio. In the evening, you will savour some fine local fare at the hotel.

(Walking time: approximately 3 hours; 5–7 km)
Accommodation
  • Hotel Breglia or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Milan Walking Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Walk up to the mountain hut above Menaggio, situated on the southern slope of Mount Grona. The hike is challenging in sections, but the visual rewards are spectacular, with beautiful views of Lake Como and the surrounding mountains. The first portion of your walk goes through forest and pastoral land, then up to the 'rifugio' (mountain hut) itself. This is a great scenic setting to enjoy your picnic lunch. A ten-minute walk then takes you from the rifugio to a viewpoint called Pizzo Coppa. Here you will have a view not only of Lake Como but also of the entire region, including Lake Piano and Lake Lugano, between Italy and Switzerland. After lunch, begin your descent to the lake at Menaggio. Depending on your energy levels, there are a number of different routes back to Menaggio; there is also the possibility to catch a bus at various points along the way. In the late afternoon, you will take the local ferry from Menaggio to Varenna, which is located on the east side of the lake. Strewn with elegant villas and crowned by an old castle, Varenna is your base for the next two nights.

(Walking time: approximately 5–6 hours; 10-12 km)
Accommodation
  • Hotel Eremo Gaudio or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mt Grona Mountain Hike
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
In the morning, take a boat ride to the central part of Lake Como to visit the pretty village of Bellagio. You will walk through Bellagio’s delightful countryside and visit Villa Melzi. This grand white villa sits just back from the water and its surrounding estate is filled with a plethora of rare and exotic plant life. Boarding another boat, you will travel to the lakeside village of Tremezzo and explore the splendid Villa Carlotta and its beautiful gardens overlooking the lake. Another ferry ride takes you back to charming Varenna, deemed by some as the most romantic town in all of Italy. You will see the Fiumelatte – the curious ‘River of Milk’ and Italy’s shortest river (250 m), which flows only six months a year. Not even Leonardo da Vinci, who explored the cave from which the river emerges, was able to discover its source or the reason why it flows for only half the year.

(Walking time: approximately 3–4 hours; 5–6 km)
Accommodation
  • Hotel Eremo Gaudio or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Como Day Trip
  • Villa Melzi
  • Villa Carlotta
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After an early breakfast, head out for a day in the majestic mountains – partly in Italy and partly in Switzerland. Drive to the Chiavenna, north of Lake Como, where you can take a stroll and do some shopping if you like. Upon entering Switzerland, travel along a wonderfully panoramic road and stop at Passo Maloja, then continue to the famous St Moritz area which is full of beautiful lakes. You will then take an easy excursion to the Morteratsch Glacier at 2000m above sea leavel, where you can choose to enjoy a picnic lunch while taking in the incredible views. You will return to Italy on the Bernina Express, a small local train that operates directly from Morteratsch. This rail trip is renowned as one of the most spectacular in the world – a highlight for many travellers. Travel past mountain peaks and glacier lakes before descending steeply into the valley. Arrive in Tirano and retire for the night.

(Walking time: approximately 3 hours; 4 km)
Accommodation
  • Hotel Bernina or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Morteratsch Glacier Excursion
  • Bernina Express Scenic Train Ride
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
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. Your base is at the most northern point of the lake, in the charming small town of Riva del Garda. You will stay in the medieval town centre among the colourful painted houses. After settling in at the hotel, take a local bus along the western side of Lake Garda to Limone, a village named after the many lemon groves that surround it. Walk up through the old cobbled streets to the edge of town, where the landscape changes from Mediterranean to alpine. After a coffee break, you'll begin walking steeply uphill into the Singol Valley, along a comfortable path which offers intermittent views of Lake Garda. Take a short rest at a mountain stream before descending back to Limone and walking among olive groves and citrus trees on the way to the lake shore. It's worth spending some time strolling along the steep and narrow lanes of the old centre of Limone. There's the option of a direct bus back to Riva, or to spend more free time in Limone and return to Riva by boat along the coast. If you like, you can dine with the group tonight under the medieval arches of Riva del Garda.

(Walking time: approximately 3–4 hours; 6 km)
Accommodation
  • Hotel Portici, Hotel Europa, Hotel Sole, Hotel du Lac et du Parc or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Singol Valley Hike
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast, discover the great and varied landscapes around Lake Garda. 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 to buy some picnic supplies 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. Here you will have the chance to enjoy an optional picnic at an incredibly scenic spot. Those wishing to opt out of this walk can wander around the medieval alleys in town, enjoy lunch in Garda or relax on the lakefront. There's also an optional afternoon walk along easy terrain to the peninsula of San Vigilio. There is a fairytale-like feel to this small medieval hamlet. You may wish to spend some time here on the lake, have a drink or relax in the park. In the late afternoon, travel back to Riva del Garda by bus and take in views of the lake's eastern side.

(Walking time: approximately 3–4 hours; 6 km)
Accommodation
  • Hotel Portici, Hotel Europa, Hotel Sole, Hotel du Lac et du Parc or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Garda Boat Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast, travel by private minibus from Riva del Garda to Verona. You will arrive at around 10 am. Your trip comes to an end on arrival at Verona train station. From Verona you can travel easily by rail to other major destinations in Italy. For train schedules, can check the national rail site: www.trenitalia.com. If you wish to remain in the Italian Lakes Region, additional accommodation can be booked at our hotels in Riva del Garda. Please enquire when booking your trip.

Notes: If you're flying out of Verona today, you can be dropped off at the airport instead of the train station.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

7 breakfasts, 2 dinners

Transport

Boat, Ferry, Local bus, Private vehicle, Train

Accommodation

Comfortable hotel (7 nights)

Included Activities

  • Milan Walking Tour
  • Mt Grona Mountain Hike
  • Lake Como Day Trip
  • Villa Melzi
  • Villa Carlotta
  • Morteratsch Glacier Excursion
  • Bernina Express Scenic Train Ride
  • Singol Valley Hike
  • Lake Garda Boat Tour

Reviews

Our Italian Lakes Discovery trips score an average of 4.69 out of 5 based on 16 reviews in the last year.

Italian Lakes Discovery, June 2016

William Harrison

Italian Lakes Discovery, June 2016

Anna and Mervyn Oliver

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Important notes

This trip can be enjoyed by just about anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. Some walking may involve steep sections or uneven paths, and the hike up Mt Grona on day 3 is a bit more demanding. However there is always the option to opt out or take public transport instead (at your own expense).

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.