Buongiorno! Welcome to Italy. After tonight's group meeting the evening is free, so why not take a wander around this historic town and enjoy a drink in the main square or along the lake shore, before going for dinner at one of the nearby traditional restaurants with your new travel companions.
Lake Como (Lago di Como) is an area of stunning beauty full of unique and evocative landscapes. Discover the central part of Lake Como by boat. We go ashore in Bellagio, the 'pearl of the lake', situated on the Punta Spartivento, where the two arms of Lake Como meet. Embark on a scenic hike through the delightful countryside, past the charming fishing village of Pescallo and several scenic hamlets. Back down at the lake discover the grand estate of the Villa Melzi, which is set into gardens filled with rare and exotic plant life. Next is a kayaking adventure which brings you all around the headland of Bellagio. Back in Como take a stroll through the medieval town centre, before enjoying a drink in the main square or along the lake shore.
Today is a free day for you to explore the area. There are many options to spend a day in Como: Explore Villa Olmo or Villa D’Este. Travelling by boat to other lakeside villages in this southern part of the lake is also a worthwhile experience. Cernobbio is surrounded by beautiful villas and has a wonderful relaxed atmosphere. For the hikers there are several nice walks in the near surroundings such as the trail network in the state park of Spina Verde. Another possibility is to travel into Switzerland and hike Monte Generoso. This is an amazing walk which includes a train ride on Europe's oldest tourist train. Views stretch from Lake Lugano to Lake Como.
After an early breakfast, head out for a day in the majestic mountains – partly in Italy and partly in Switzerland. Drive to the northern edge of Lake Como for some shopping and kick back with a chinotto in Chiavenna (approximately 50 minutes). Upon entering Switzerland, travel along a scenic road to the St Moritz area, making a stop at Passo Maloja along the way (approximately 1 hour). Take a spectacular excursion to the Morteratsch Glacier, where you can choose to enjoy a picnic lunch while taking in the incredible view. You will 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 train journey is one of the most spectacular in the world and definitely a highlight of the trip (approximately 2 hours). Arrive back into the Italian town of Tirano (Tiran), where you'll spend the night.
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. En route there is the option for a stunning walk through archetypical mountain scenery. Upon arrival there will be some time to explore the pretty town of Riva del Garda, a town which appears almost more Austrian than Italian. There is some time for discovery, a drink and perhaps some shopping before continuing to our hotel. Your base is at the most northern point of the lake. When you arrive you’ll discover the 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 walking tour through the village before climbing up towards the abbey, where, after a steep climb you will be rewarded with beautiful views over the lake. You may wish to spend some time here on the lake, have a drink or relax in the park.
This morning embark on a bike ride along the shores of Lake Garda, taking in the glorious scenery of the glistening lake in front of you and the towering Alps behind you. Depending on weather, fitness and interest of the group several rides are possible. The ride to Riva del Garda is mostly flat, but there are several other options to choose from. Explore several remains of WWI in a place which until 100 years ago was the border between Austria and Italy. In the afternoon there are several options for short walks: Opt for spectacular Monte Brione, a natural balcony on Lake Garda, or walk the beautiful scenic trail of the Busatte towards Malcesine. The more energetic hikers can opt to explore Monte Baldo, the highest mountain of Lake Garda, or choose to reach it by cable car.
After breakfast this morning your Italian Lakes adventure comes to an end. From nearby Verona it's easy to travel by rail to other major destinations in Italy. If you'd like to stay in the Italian Lakes region, additional accommodation can also be booked on Lake Garda. Please enquire when booking your trip.