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Cycling the Italian and Swiss Lakes

from $2,479.00

Scenic ridings along the shores of the most famous lakes in Italy and
Switzerland

  • Reviews 10 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Moderate
    5/8
  • Group Size Small Group
    6 - 16
All about the Cycling the Italian and Swiss Lakes.

The Italian lakes of Como and Maggiore are famed for both their spectacular scenery and their well-heeled residents. The rich and famous clearly have good taste as the scenery here is simply wonderful with forested hills and medieval properties overlooking the glistening blue waters. This is a fascinating place to discover on two wheels with excellent roads that closely follow the winding shores. Amongst others, we visit the Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso, a striking overhanging abbey built by a rich merchant. The Villa del Balbianello with its ornate Italian gardens may look familiar to film buffs, having featured in international movies such as Bond’s Casino Royale and Star Wars: Attack of the clones. There will be opportunities to taste plenty of delicious local produce en route, including cheese, cold meats, honey, wines and ice cream, before riding across the border to Lugano in Switzerland for a chocolate tasting. The excellent cycle rides will hopefully help you build up an appetite!

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* All breakfast, 2 lunches and 1 dinner included
* All accommodation (see below)
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout
* Airport transfers (at designated times)
* Local bike rental

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Cycle around four lakes in two countries
  • Enjoy an incredibly varied local gastronomy
  • Visit Como and Villa del Balbianello
  • 7 nights hotels all en suite
  • 5 days cycling with baggage transfers and full vehicle support
  • Group normally 6 to 16, plus leaders. Min age 16 years
  • 95% tarmac roads with some climbs
  1. Day 1 Start Armeno

    Our trip starts in Armeno, a small villageon the eastern hills of Lake Orta. Optional stroll through the alleys of Orta San Giulio, a stunning town listed among the ”Most beautiful towns of Italy”. Our accommodation on the first night is in a green park near Lake Orta, at the foot of Mount Mottarone. It is part of a complex who also organise spiritual retreats, making it a relaxing place to start the trip.

  2. Day 2 Ride south to Lake Maggiore through Lagoni di Mercurago Natural Park, Grappa tasting.

    On our way to Lake Maggiore we ride south along Lake Orta through the amazing Lagoni di Mercurago Natural Park; home to a huge variety of different environments, from swamps to pastures, horses stables to archaeological sites. We continue to the medieval town of Angera, where, as a perfect ending we taste Grappa; one of the most renowned Italian spirits from a local and historical distillery. In Angera, where we overnight, there will be the opportunity to swim and relax on the lake beaches.

  3. Day 3 Cycle along Lake Maggiore to Porto Valtravaglia through Santa Caterina del Sasso Hermitage, cheese tasting.

    Cycling along the shores of Lake Maggiore we make our way to the Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso; directly overlooking the water it is one most charming sights of the lake. We take some time to visit this incredible abbey and then we stop in a traditional “locanda” (cosy typical restaurant) to enjoy a tasting of local cheese, cold meats and honey. After the tasting we continue through the picturesque village of Laveno to Porto Valtravaglia, where we spend the next two nights. When the weather allows there will be time to explore the local beaches.

  4. Day 4 Free day to relax on Lake Maggiore, or take a ferry to the famous Borromeo Islands. 

    On this leisurely day you have some time to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of Lake Maggiore or to take a ferry to the famous Borromeo Islands. The archipelago is formed by four Islands. The main one is the monumental Isola Bella, with its 17th-Century Palazzo Borromeo, surrounded by flam boiled gardens. Then we have the picturesque Isola dei Pescatori (Fishermen’s Island), Isola Madre, noted for its botanical garden, the little Island of San Giovanni, and the Rock of Marghera.

  5. Day 5 Cycle to Lugano, enjoy a chocolate tasting in a historic cafe` and visit the town of Menaggio.

    Today is quite exciting as we cycle into the second country of our trip: Switzerland. We will reach the enchanting city of Lugano, lied down on the shore of iconic Lake Lugano. We take some time to stroll and explore the city independently and after our lunch at leisure we will get the chance to enjoy a delicious chocolate tasting at the historical Caffé Vanini, situated in a picturesque square in the city centre. The day ends in the charming town of Menaggio, on the shores of Lake Como, where we will stay for the next three nights.

  6. Day 6 Circular ride to Colico, wine tasting.

    Leaving Switzerland we take a circular ride around the Northern side of Lake Como to Colico. En route we stop at a local wine cellar to taste some of the excellent wines of the area and to enjoy a light lunch with local products. Once at Colico, you can visit the Cistercian Santa Maria di Piona Abbey, masterpiece of the Lombard architecture. Built in the 12th century, it represents the first source attesting a monastic community present in the territory. After the visit we return to Menaggio by ferry, another great chance to admire the beautiful views that the lake is offering.

  7. Day 7 Ride to Balbianello Villa, visit to a traditional gelateria and gelato tasting.

    On our final ride we head to the beautiful Villa del Balbianello, riding south along Lake Como. Built for a prominent Italian family during the 19th century it has been recently chosen as setting of international movies such as 007: Casino Royale and Star Wars. After lunch, on our way to the city of Como we enjoy a relaxing break at a traditional gelateria, to try to learn the secrets of real Italian gelato. In Como you will have time to discover the city’s main sights, such as the remarkable Renaissance Cathedral, at your own pace, before returning to Menaggio by ferry boat.

  8. Day 8 End Menaggio.

    Our trip ends in Menaggio.

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Where you stay

Hotels

You will spend 7 nights in 2 and 3 star hotels. All hotels have been carefully selected for their welcoming atmosphere, location and services offered. All rooms provided are en suite.

We can arrange single rooms throughout the trip (subject to availability). Please check with your sales consultant for availability and prices.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfast, 2 lunches and 1 dinner included

All breakfasts are Continental in style, consisting of coffee or tea, bread, jam and/or honey.

 

For lunch and dinner, when not included, our leader will be on hand to recommend his favourite restaurants based on your budget and preferences. The standard of food and drink throughout the tour is extremely high and the Chocolate Museum visit in Switzerland will be an added value to the experience.

The cuisine of that lakes region encompasses traditional recipes with new ingredients where the main characteristic is the usage of local products. Typical dishes are: minestrone, fish and polenta, risotto, roasted meats (rabbit, kid), stewed, polenta with Bologna sausage or braised meat and many other delicious proposals.

This trip is classified Road: Level 3 Moderate

Please see the relevant pages of our website for more important information on classification and grading.

Average daily distance: 45km (28 miles) with 5 days cycling

Terrain and route: 95% tarmac roads

We aim to use mainly quiet roads and cycle paths where possible, but at times we need to cross busy road sections in order to reach the quieter routes on the other side. There are no technical difficulties but at times there will be some climbs therefore a reasonable level of fitness is required, along with some cycling experience.

Please note that occasionally it may not be possible to follow the itinerary exactly as planned. Leaders will always look for alternate routes/solutions whenever required.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

The best trip yet.

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole trip was inspirational due to my fellow travellers, fun and laughter all the way, how lucky I was to be a part of it all.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Francesco and Sara were a good as it gets, not just leaders but a part of the group. Great to be with and they obviously enjoy their work.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The cycling isn't too hard (but this means different things to different people), so for anyone who has a good level of fitness it's fine. The only advisory note is that you need to be confident of occasionally cycling on busy roads.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
4/5

Cycling the Italian & Swiss Lakes

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Last couple of days were the best: cycling along the border of Lake Como on winding. charming roads with breath-taking vistas More of this pl!
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent - Francesco was our main guide, supported by Sara Francesco was charismatic, fun and engaging, but also clear and serious when he needed to be Both guides joined in with everything and made the group go with a swing Big thank you to both of them!
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is not a difficult trip - v few hard or arduous climbs, and not long distances I wonder if the rating is correct? More an easy than a moderate?
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Re the route, I could happily have done without the Swiss section - a lot of cycling on busy roads, to cross the border for a few hours into Lugano which is v expensive and not especially interesting Would much rather have spent longer in Italy Re group mgt, I think guides cld be better briefed at the beginning by Exodus on protocols for taking groups on the roads over a week ie always have a back sweeper, divide groups into smaller groups to aid traffic flow, give each member of group a daily map to take with them so we are not constantly asking 'how much further to next stop? etc' The guides absorbed this quickly when we told them, but if they had this as part of their mgt training it wld have been helpful As an ex language teacher, I do also wonder if you could perhaps help yr guides more with v specific vocabulary eg cycling parts/route instructions/health & safety, rather than leaving them to find their way round this?

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

A great cycling trip

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the backdrop of the snow covered Alps beyond the Lake Maggiore and Lake Como
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent. From beginning to end they were determined to make sure that everything went smoothly to the customer's benefit. They handled any problems with skill and good humour.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are fit and prepared for some traffic.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
4/5

Stunning views of the 4 lakes - best seen from a bike

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We loved the mid week trip to The Borromean Islands (Lake Maggiore) which is a non-cycling day - Isola Bella and the Fisherman’s Island are both wonderful. Also the last day at Villa del Balbianello with it’s very interesting villa and stunning gardens. These are both must see places. Most of the trip you are surrounded by stunning views and we took plenty of photos both from the land and the water.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent - 5 stars. Sara had some challenges on the way round but kept her cool and was professional throughout with a very warm and friendly manner. Sara and Alessandro made a great team and it was fun to be with them both.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are up to doing the miles indicated and the hill climbs as per the trip notes, otherwise it won’t be so enjoyable for you.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was my 7th cycle trip and my 10th Exodus trip. I would put it at number 5 of the cycling trips - behind the Amalfi Coast, Jordan, Northern Sardinia and the Dalmatian Coast.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

Wonderful cycling around 3 lakes in Italy and a one day ride into Switzerland

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Boat trip to Borromean Islands including Isole Bella.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Francesco and Sara are a dream team. I could not fault them! Thank you so much for your care, hospitality, humour, expertise, support and hard work and positive energy!
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read other reviews re. traffic in some parts of the cycling.

LEAVE YOUR COMMENT

Package Confirmed Dates Trip Status Trip Status Price (PP) Excluding Flights Price (PP) Including Flights  
September 15, 2019
Available
$2,479.00
N/A
May 10, 2020
Available
$2,749.00
N/A
May 24, 2020
Available
$2,749.00
N/A
June 21, 2020
Available
$2,749.00
N/A
July 5, 2020
Available
$2,749.00
N/A
September 6, 2020
Available
$2,749.00
N/A
September 20, 2020
Available
$2,749.00
N/A