Days
8
Price from
$3,330AUD

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
Country
Italy, Switzerland
Style
Peregrine
Theme
Walking
Code
PELD
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
(10 reviews)
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Embark on some great walks and visit some of the area's most splendid villas in the Lake Como region

  • Cruise the waters of Lake Como and stop at picturesque lakeside villages

  • Travel to Switzerland where we explore the area of St Moritz before taking one of the world's most spectacular train rides back into Italy

  • Explore Lake Garda, bordered by impressive rocky cliffs and soaring mountains in the north and vineyards and olive groves in the south

  • Old cobblestone paths take us through the maze of villages and up through the hills, dominated by snowy peaks in the distance

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 available at an additional charge. Please ask your travel consultant for more details, and please note that in some hotels a single supplement exclusion applies where single rooms are not available. Also, hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together/apart.

  • You'll need to be in good health and able to walk for a few hours, with some up-and-down sections, and on varied terrain, from well-defined paths to rocky trails.

Itinerary

Your trip starts today with your arrival in Milan (Milano), Italy's second largest city and the capital of Lombardy - Italy's wealthiest province.

Whilst at your discretion, we recommend arriving/departing by train where possible within Europe due to this method of transport's minimal carbon emissions. 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 today so you may arrive at any time. Please make your own way to the joining hotel which is centrally located and close to all the major sights.

In the evening you will meet your tour leader and your fellow travelling companions at a welcome meeting (this is usually at 6pm, but you will be advised as to the exact time and place in a notice, located near the reception at our hotel), where your leader will give you a briefing on what lies ahead on our tour.

This evening is free, so why not enjoy dinner in one of the nearby traditional restaurants.
Accommodation
  • Gran Duca Di York or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning enjoy a walking tour of Milan. Apart from being known as the fashion capital of the world and Italy’s financial centre, there is also an overwhelming amount of history here, as you discover when you visit some of the must-see sights.

The Gothic Duomo is the city's most famous building and walking in between the sculptures on its roof is an amazing experience. The views from up high are very impressive.

Walk through the beautiful Galleria, to the Teatro alla Scala, arguably Italy’s most famous opera house and a stage that has been graced by many great performers. You will also explore some shops in the famous fashion district and visit the medieval castle and enjoy its beautiful park.

Lunch is optional, you can either 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 and full of unique and evocative landscapes. You will stop and enjoy a stroll in the beautiful 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 our base for the night.

To recover from the hectic city life, you will 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: 3 hours, 5-7 km)
Accommodation
  • Hotel Breglia or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Milan Walking Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Today you will take a great walk up to the mountain hut above Menaggio, situated on the southern slope of Mount Grona. The walk is challenging in sections but the visual rewards are spectacular with peerless views of Lake Como and the surrounding mountains.

The first portion of your walk goes through forest and pastoral land, before you trek up to the 'rifugio' (mountain hut) itself. This is a great scenic setting to enjoy your picnic lunch.

A ten-minute walk from the rifugio takes you to a viewpoint called Pizzo Coppa, from where you will have a view not only of Lake Como, but also of the entire region with Lake Piano and Lake Lugano, between Italy and Switzerland.

After lunch and some more time to take in the stunning scenery you will begin your descent down to the lake at Menaggio.
Depending on your energy levels, there are a number of different return routes back down to Menaggio. There is also the possibility to catch a bus at various points along the way.

Those who wish to have a more relaxed day can opt to miss today’s more challenging walk and instead take a wonderfully panoramic, but easy circular route directly from the hotel. Alternatively you can travel down to Menaggio by bus and relax by the lake.

In the late afternoon you will take a local ferry from Menaggio to the romantic town of Varenna, on the east side of the lake. Strewn with elegant villas and crowned by an old castle, Varenna will be your base for the next two nights.

(Walking time: 5-6 hours, 10-12 km)
Accommodation
  • Hotel Eremo Gaudio or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Walk to Mount Grona Viewpoint
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning you willl 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 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.

Boarding another boat, you will travel to the lakeside village of Tremezzo and explore the splendid Villa Carlotta, with 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 (250m), 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: 3-4 hours, 5-6 km)
Accommodation
  • Hotel Eremo Gaudio or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Como Day Trip
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After an early breakfast, you will depart for a day in the real mountains - partly in Italy and partly in Switzerland. Drive to the Chiavenna, north of Lake Como, for a stroll around town or some shopping if you like.

Upon entering Switzerland, travel along a wonderfully panoramic road and stop at Passo Maloja, before arriving in the famous St. Moritz area, which is full of beautiful lakes.

You will then take an easy, but spectacular excursion to the Morteratsch Glacier, where you can choose to enjoy a picnic lunch whilst taking in the incredible views.

You will return to Italy on the Bernina Express, a small local train that operates directly from Morteratsch. This amazing rail trip is a highlight not to be missed, as it is known to be one of the most spectacular train rides in the world. Travel past mountain peaks and glacier lakes, before descending steeply into the valley and to Tirano, where you will spend the night.

(Walking time: 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, you will drive to Lake Garda. The 4,5 hour drive 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, with its colourful painted houses.

After settling in at the hotel, you will 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 mountain scenery.

After a coffee break you will walk steeply uphill into the Singol Valley, along a comfortable path, alternating between woods and panoramic views of Lake Garda. You will have a short rest at a mountain stream before descending back to Limone and walking among olive groves and citrus trees down to the lake shore.

It is worth spending some time in the old centre of Limone, strolling along its steep and narrow lanes.

For those who wish, there is a direct bus back to Riva, but it is also possible to spend some more free time in Limone, and then jump on the boat to travel back to Riva along the coast.

Tonight you can choose to dine together under the medieval arches of Riva del Garda and raise your glasses in a toast to the infinite charms of the Italian Lakes region.

(Walking time: 3-4 hours, 6 km)
Accommodation
  • Hotel Portici or Hotel Europa or Hotel Sole or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Garda Boat Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast you will 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 and 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 a picnic (optional) at an incredibly scenic place. Those wishing to opt out of this walk can wander around the medieval alleys in town, enjoy lunch in Garda or relax on the beautiful lakefront.

There is the option for an easy afternoon walk to the peninsula of San Vigilio. There is a fairytale ambience in this small medieval hamlet. You may wish to spend some time here on the tranquil lake, have a drink or relax in the park.

In the late afternoon you will travel back to Riva del Garda by bus, a scenic drive along the eastern side of the lake.

(Walking time: 3-4 hours, 6 km)
Accommodation
  • Hotel Portici or Hotel Europa or Hotel Sole or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast this morning, a private minibus will take you from Riva del Garda to Verona. Your trip will come to an end on arrival at Verona train station. Alternatively you can choose to be dropped off at the airport. Arrival in Verona will be at around 10am. Please consider this arrival time when booking onward travel.

From Verona you can travel easily by rail to other major destinations in Italy. For train schedules you can check the national rail site: www.trenitalia.com.

Of course you may opt to stay in beautiful Verona and spend time exploring this romantic city of Romeo and Juliet, dominated by its Roman Amphitheatre.

If you wish to remain in the Italian Lakes Region, additional accommodation can also be booked at our hotels in Riva del Garda. Please enquire when booking your tour.
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
  • Walk to Mount Grona Viewpoint
  • 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 4.7 out of 5 based on 10 reviews in the last year.

Italian Lakes Discovery, October 2015

Heather Skeen

Italian Lakes Discovery, October 2015

Susan Parker

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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, 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.