Introduce yourself to Venice and the stunning Italian Lakes including Venice, Como, Maggiore and Turin.
The Venice and the Italian Lakes walking tour starts in Venice. We meet in our hotel (on a canal in a quiet residential area) on the first night for a short stroll around the neighbourhood and dinner in a nearby restaurant. (Dinner).
This morning we take a four hour walk along some of the smaller canals, through hidden lanes and squares, exploring some of the less visited parts of the city. After a traditional lunch on a quiet canal on Dorsoduro, the afternoon is free. (Lunch).
This morning we leave Venice by water taxi, crossing the lagoon to be then taken by private bus to a gorgeous town on the shores of Lake Como opposite Bellagio our base for the next four days. On the way, we stop in the Franciacorta, one of the premier northern Italian wine producing districts, for lunch in a celebrated osteria that has been in the same family for four generations and is considered by the Slow Food Association to be the best of its kind in Italy. The evening is free. (Lunch).
For the first walk, we cross the lake by ferry to follow a path that takes us up into a valley above Menaggio. It starts with a long climb above the shore, before passing through forests and exploring timeless villages, each rich with its own local history and stories. We follow a trail that was part of a smugglers' run to and from neighbouring Switzerland until the 1970s. Along the way, there are extraordinary views over Lake Lugano to the mountains of Switzerland. (11 kms. 3 hrs, Grade 2, there is an option to shorten the walk)
At the end of the walk we have lunch of local specialities in an agriturismo overlooking the lake. After lunch, you will have the choice of taking a bus or walking (1.5 hrs) down to the lakeside. The rest of the day is free. (Lunch).
This morning we visit one of the finest villa's on the shores of Lake Como (for better or worse, the set for a number of Hollywood blockbusters, including Star Wars and James Bond). A pleasant ferry ride down the lake towards Como city, the villa sits on the tip of a forested peninsula and is one of the highlights of the tour. The original building dates from the 12th century but was transformed over successive centuries. A private guided tour will take us through the gardens and the villa itself, with its wonderful historic collections.
After the visit, we take the ferry back to our base, stopping at neighbouring Bellagio, one of the ‘most beautiful villages in Italy' on the way. You'll have the afternoon free to explore other nearby villas and gardens. In the evening we'll re-join for a candle lit dinner overlooking the lake. (Dinner)
Today's walk starts with a steep walk up to the castle above our town, and then continues along the face of the mountains following stone trading paths that have been used since Roman times. The trail has gorgeous views over Lake Como and the mountains to Switzerland. We break for morning coffee in the next village before continuing on to our destination. (11 kms, 3.5 hrs, Grade 2, it is possible to shorten the walk)
Here we join local families for a robust Sunday lunch in a small osteria, or inn, that has been servicing walkers on the track for centuries and specialises in traditional 'comasco' cooking. We lunch we catch a ferry back to our base.
This morning we leave Lake Como, crossing the nearby Swiss border into the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino and driving through the mountains to the northern, Swiss end of Lake Maggiore. Along the way we stop for a short lake side stroll and lunch in the elegant financial city of Lugano.
Our base for the next four nights is a charming 400 year old mountain hotel tucked away in the valleys above Locarno at the northern tip of Lake Maggiore. After settling into the hotel, you'll be taken on a guided walk around this very interesting small town. We'll have dinner at a lovely traditional restaurant on the edge of town. (Dinner)
After breakfast, we catch the little single gauge electric train for a few stops up the valley and then take a cable car to the top of the mountains. After coffee in a mountain hut, we take a spectacular trail, through forests and (car-free) hamlets with scenery that springs straight from the 'Sound of Music' to a small village above our base. We have a picnic lunch along the way. (9 kms, 3.5 hrs, Grade 3)
At the end of the walk, you can either take another small cable car directly down to the valley or continue down a winding stone path past to our village. The evening is free (there are a number of good restaurants in the village). (Lunch)
Today is a free day, with a variety of options (your guide will be available to help with advice and making the arrangements) including: taking the electric train into Locarno (15 minutes) to shop and/or take a ferry ride on Lake Maggiore, visiting the botanical gardens on the Brissago islands; do an easy walk into Locarno, following the river (2 hours); or take the little train for the celebrated ride all the way through the very beautiful valley, back into Italy, where you can have lunch before catching the train back to our base (3 hour round trip); or, you can chill out poolside at the hotel and read a good book. Dinner tonight is a treat - eating at the town's best restaurant, a gourmet delight. (Dinner)
Today's walk takes us into a neighbouring valley, known to the locals as the valley of the sun. Climbing up to a small chapel, we follow stone paths through a narrow gorge and into a hidden valley, passing through chestnut and oak forests, past goat farms and a tiny hamlet before descending into the valley. We finish at a nice bar with a terrace overlooking a white stone river. We'll have a picnic lunch along the walk. (11 kms, 4 hrs, Grade 2). The evening is free. (Lunch)
Today we leave Switzerland and drive down the shore of the lake, crossing the border back into Italy and heading for Turin, a surprisingly gracious city of wide boulevards, elegant arcades and grand public buildings, looking its best since the 2006 Winter Olympics. On the way we visit the most enchanting of all the Italian lakes, tiny Lake Orta. After a short walk around the shores of the lake (0.5 hrs) we'll visit the gorgeous village of San Giulio d'Orta and have lunch before continuing on to Turin. After settling into the hotel, you'll have the time to explore the city and do a little afternoon shopping. The evening is free. (Lunch)
This morning you will be taken on a guided walk through Turin's centre visiting some of the city's Baroque splendour, the legacy of the Savoy kings who ruled from here for nearly six centuries (4 hrs). The afternoon is free. In the evening we take a short walk through the heart of the city, have an aperitif and have dinner in one of the city’s fine restaurants. (Dinner)
After breakfast, you will be able to continue your holiday - Turin has a local airport, a shuttle service to Malpensa international airport and is well connected by train to all major Italian cities and to the rest of Europe.
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Venice and the Italian Lakes in autumn: 13 days/12 nights
31 August to 12 September, 2018
Tour Size7 to 15 people
Single supplement $750 (double room for single use)
- 12 nights accommodation in 4-star boutique hotels (see itinerary for details)
- All breakfasts, and all lunches and dinners (with wine) listed in the itinerary.
- All land and lakes transfers listed in the itinerary
- All taxes and service charges at the hotels
- All paid admissions during the tour
- 7 guided walks
- Full-time services of a fully experienced bi-lingual guide
Venice and the Italian Lakes walking tour in autumn FAQs
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We had one of our best times ever. The tour was way beyond our expectations, and they were high! Every aspect, the walks, itinerary, guiding, food and hotels, was wonderful... I found the tour to be the most delicious and interesting experience.
– Cate T, Venice and the LakesView all Testimonials ›