Pamper the appetite and treat the senses on this exquisite journey through Italy’s Lake District and the staggering peaks of Switzerland’s St. Moritz. Stroll the forested paths around Lakes Como and Garda, unwind through the Dolomite highlands and just keep whetting and sating that appetite with classic Italian delicacies. Shop til you drop among Milan’s famous fashionistas, ferry to and fro between lake villages and villas that keep getting prettier, and clamber about the crumbling ruins of medieval castles. Idyllic in setting, laid-back in lifestyle, and a gastronomist’s delight, this jaunt through one of Europe’s most charming nooks shouldn’t disappoint. And if it does, take the issue up with one of the local residents – like Sting or George Clooney.

Start
Milan, Italy
Finish
Verona, Italy
Countries
Italy,
Switzerland
Themes
Explorer, Walking & Trekking
Code
ZGXI
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 16
Carbon offset
140kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Potter among the rooftop sculptures of Milan’s Gothic Duomo.
  • Take the rails through St. Moritz’s staggering mountain scenery on the Bernina Express.
  • Prowl the superb grounds of Villa Melzi.
  • Traipse along the forested paths of Lake Garda’s Singol Valley.
  • Enjoy a picnic perched atop Mount Grona.
  • Indulge in some ambrosial Italian fare in Tirano.

Itinerary

Buongiorno! Welcome to Italy. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting today at 6 pm, where you'll meet your fellow travellers and group leader. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

After the meeting, the evening is free, so why not take a wander and enjoy dinner at one of the nearby traditional restaurants.
Spend the morning on a guided group walking tour of Milan. Milano is Italy's financial capital and one of the fashion centres of the world. It is also incredibly rich in history, as you'll discover. Visit the city's most famous building, the Gothic Duomo, and walk between its rooftop sculptures, admiring the views. Pass through the beautiful Galleria on the way to the Teatro alla Scala. The stage of Italy’s most famous opera house has been graced by many great performers throughout the centuries. Your guide will lead you to Milan's fashion district to explore the shops, before continuing on to the city's medieval castle and surrounding park. For lunch, the group can either eat at a local restaurant or pick up a ‘panino’ if preferred.

In the early afternoon drive north to Lake Como (Lago di Como), an area of stunning beauty. Take a stroll in the medieval town centre of Como, before enjoying a drink in the main square or along the lake shore. Continue on around the western side of the lake to the quaint mountain village of Breglia, high above Menaggio, where you'll spend a relaxed night away from hectic city life. In the evening get together with the group and savour some fine local fare at your hotel.

Note: Total walking time today is approximately three hours.
Today hike 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 pace set by the leader will be achievable for the whole group. Pass through forest and pastoral land before trekking up to the hut ('rifugio'), where you'll enjoy a picnic lunch. Ten minutes walk from the hut is the Pizzo Coppa viewpoint, which offers spectacular vistas of Lake Como, Lake Piano and Lake Lugano. After lunch there is time for a rest before beginning the descent down to the lake. According to the group's energy levels, there are a number of possible return routes. There is also the possibility to catch a bus at various points.

Those who wish to have a more relaxed day can walk along an easier, circular trail leading directly from the hotel. Alternatively, you can travel down to Menaggio and unwind by the lake for the morning. In the late afternoon the group will head to Menaggio to take a local ferry across to Varenna on the east side of the lake. Strewn with elegant villas and crowned by an old castle, this romantic town will be your base for the next two nights.

Note: Total walking time today is between five and six hours.
This morning take a boat ride to the centre of Lake Como and visit the pretty village of Bellagio. Enjoy a walk through the countryside and discover the grand estate of the Villa Melzi, which is set into gardens filled with rare and exotic plant life. Boarding another boat, travel on to the lakeside village of Tremezzo and explore the splendid Villa Carlotta. Return to Varenna by ferry. Varenna is deemed by some to be the most romantic town in Italy. Check out the Fiumelatte - the curious ‘River of Milk’, just south of the town. Not even Leonardo da Vinci, who explored the cave from which the river emerges, could discover its source or why it flows for only six months of the year.

Note: Total walking time today is between three and four hours.
After an early breakfast, depart for a day in the mountains - partly in Italy and partly in Switzerland. Drive to the northern edge of Lake Como for some shopping and enjoy a drink in Chiavenna. Upon entering Switzerland, travel along a scenic road to the St Moritz area, making a stop at Passo Malojae along the way. Take an easy but spectacular excursion to the Morteratsch Glacier, where you can choose to enjoy a picnic lunch while taking in the view. Return to Italy on the Bernina Express, a small local train operating directly from Morteratsch. The train will take you past mountain peaks and glacier lakes before descending steeply into the valley. This journey is one of the most spectacular in the world and definitely a highlight of the trip. Arrive back into the Italian town of Tirano (Tiran), where you'll spend the night.

Note: Total walking time today is approximately three hours.
After breakfast today, drive to Lake Garda. The drive takes you along some of Italy’s famous mountain chains, including the Dolomites. The group's base is at the most northern point of the lake, in the charming small city of Riva del Garda. You'll be staying in the medieval town centre, with its colourful painted houses.
Today take a boat tour across the northern side of Lake Garda to Limone, a village named after the lemon groves surrounding it. From here walk up through old cobbled streets to the edge of town, where the landscape changes from Mediterranean to alpine. After a coffee break, trek steeply uphill into the Singol Valley along a wooded path offering views of Lake Garda. After a short rest at a mountain stream, descend back to Limone and walk through olive groves and citrus trees to the lake shore. It's worth spending some time exploring the narrow lanes in the old centre of Limone.

For those who wish, there is a direct bus back to Riva. Alternatively, spend some more free time in Limone, before jumping back on the boat and returning to Riva along the coast. Tonight the group can choose to dine together under the medieval arches of Riva del Garda, raising our glasses in a toast to the charms of the Italian Lakes region.

Note: Total walking time today is between three and four hours.
After breakfast this morning, travel by private minibus from Riva to Verona, where your Italian Lakes adventure comes to an end. From Verona it's easy to travel by rail to other major destinations in Italy. Please do not book any onwards train or bus out of the city before midday today. For train schedules check the national rail site: trenitalia.com.

Of course you may wish to stay on in fair Verona and spend time exploring this romantic city. The setting of one of the greatest love stories of all time (Romeo and Juliet), Verona is dominated by its spectacular Roman Amphitheatre. If you'd like to return to or stay in the Italian Lakes region, additional accommodation can also be booked in Riva del Garda. Please enquire when booking your trip.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
7 breakfasts2 dinners
Transport
Boat, Private Bus, Train
Accommodation
Hotel (7 nights)
Included activities
  • Bernina Express Scenic Train Ride
  • Lake Como Day Trip
  • Lake Garda Boat Tour
  • Morteratsch Glacier Excursion
  • Walk to Mount Grona Viewpoint

Dates

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Important notes

1) A single room supplement is available to book on this trip, please see Trip Notes for more details.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide 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.

View trip notes

Reviews

Our Walking the Italian Lakes trips score an average of 4.5 out of 5 based on 2 reviews in the last year.

Italian Lakes Discovery , May 2015

Italian Lakes Discovery , April 2015