Days
8
Price from
$4,095AUD

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
17 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

  • Visit the local acetaia in the hamlet of Cologna di Tenno, a farm which produces balsamic vinegar. Taste their produce whilst taking in the panorama of Lake Garda spread out in front of you.

Is this trip right for you?

  • 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.

  • 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). Note that hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together or apart.

Itinerary

Arrive in Milan, Italy's second largest city and the capital of Lombardy, Italy's wealthiest province. No activities are planned for today, so you may arrive at any time. A private arrival transfer to your hotel is included in the price of this trip (from Malpensa Airport only). Your hotel is 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Gran Duca Di York or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Arrival Transfer from Milan Malpensa Airport
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 eastern side of the lake. Strewn with elegant villas and crowned by an old castle, Varenna will be your base for the next three nights.

Notes: Walking time approximately 3 hours; 5–7 km
Accommodation
  • Hotel Eremo Gaudio or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Milan Walking Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
In the morning, you will travel to the lakeside village of Tremezzo and explore the splendid Villa Carlotta and its beautiful gardens overlooking the lake. Take another boat to the central part of Lake Como to visit the pretty village of Bellagio, the Pearl of the lake, situated on the Punta Spartivento (literally the point that divides the wind), where the two arms of Lake Como meet. With inspiring views of the lake and the distant mountains, brightly painted houses adorned with flower-filled balconies, a bustling waterfront and a maze of meandering cobblestone streets, Bellagio is a delightful place to explore. Embark on a short walk through the countryside – past picturesque fishing harbours and beautiful villas. Enjoy a picnic lunch en route, on the beach or just along the lake shore. Or perhaps you’ll want just to relax and eat in a trattoria somewhere in the village. End your walk in the gardens of beautiful 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. Another ferry ride takes you back to charming Varenna, deemed by some as the most romantic town in all of Italy.

Note: Walking time approximately 3–4 hours; 5–6 km
Accommodation
  • Hotel Eremo Gaudio or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Villa Melzi
  • Villa Carlotta
  • Lake Como Day Trip
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is a free day for you to enjoy all Varenna and the surrounding area has to offer. Depending on your energy levels there are a number of different routes in the area. A great option is the short walk directly from your hotel to the castle of Vezio, and the remains of this military fortress, which was used as sighting tower in the days of Queen Teodolinda. From here you’ll enjoy amazing views on the lake of Como. You might continue along the pilgrim’s way ‘Sentiero del Viandante’ all the way to Bellano, famous for its ‘Horrid Canyon’, a natural gorge, formed over 15 million years ago by the waters of the Pioverana torrent, which dug a deep ravine between Taceno, Valsassina and Bellano. The peculiarity of the ravine is that you can actually walk inside it along footbridges attached to the rocks overlook dizzying cliffs. Alternatively you may prefer to relax and see the sights of pretty Varenna. Perhaps take the short walk to the curious Fiumelatte – the ‘River of Milk’- 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Eremo Gaudio or similar (1 night)
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.

Notes: Walking time approximately 3 hours; 4 km
Accommodation
  • Hotel Centrale or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Morteratsch Glacier Excursion
  • Bernina Express Scenic Train Ride
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
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. On your way to Riva del Garda visit the local acetaia in the hamlet of Cologna di Tenno, a farm which produces balsamic vinegar. Taste their produce whilst taking in the panorama of Lake Garda spread out in front of you. After settling into our accommodation your private bus will bring you 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. Visit an old Limonaia (Lemon Farm) – Limone was the world's northernmost point for citrus groves grown for commercial purposes: hundreds of thousands of lemons were exported mainly to Germany, Poland and Russia, thus guaranteeing many jobs and considerable profits for the area. 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.

Notes: Walking time approximately 3–4 hours; 6 km
Accommodation
  • Hotel Europa or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today 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.

Notes: Walking time approximately 3–4 hours; 6 km
Accommodation
  • Hotel Europa 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, 1 dinner

Transport

Boat, Local bus, Private vehicle, Train

Accommodation

Comfortable hotel (7 nights)

Included Activities

  • Arrival Transfer from Milan Malpensa Airport
  • Milan Walking Tour
  • Villa Melzi
  • Villa Carlotta
  • Lake Como Day Trip
  • Morteratsch Glacier Excursion
  • Bernina Express Scenic Train Ride
  • Lake Garda Boat Tour

Reviews

Our Italian Lakes Discovery trips score an average of 4.71 out of 5 based on 17 reviews in the last year.

Italian Lakes Discovery, August 2016

joan mahoney

Italian Lakes Discovery, June 2016

William Harrison

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Important notes

You will need to be in good health and able to walk for a few hours at a time, but just about anyone with a reasonable level of fitness will enjoy this tip. Some walking may involve steep sections or uneven paths up to an altitude of 2000m. However there is always the option to opt out or take public transport instead (at your own expense)

This trip will conclude on day 8 at around 10am at Verona Train Station. Please keep this in mind when pre-booking any onward travel

Due to a printing error there is a discrepancy between the meals listed in the brochure as opposed to the trip notes. Please note that on this trip there is 1 dinner included on day 5.

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.