Italian Lakes

Tour of Lake Como, Lake Lugano, and Lake Garda

10 Days
June 1-11, 2023


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Day 1: Milan Malpensa Airport

Airport transfer to accommodation in Bellagio, Lake Como. Bellagio is located halfway between the two most southernmost branches of Lake Como. You will have time to relax before dinner.

Day 2: Bellagio

We start the tour of the Italian lakes with a relaxing day in Bellagio. The tiny streets of Bellagio are exquisite. The old town center of Bellagio has one main road, Via Giuseppi Garibaldi which has dozens of shops and boutiques filled with artisan goods.

Day 3: Lake Lugano

This morning we travel to Lugano, capital of the Italian speaking canton of Ticino, seized by the Swiss in 1512. It is an eclectic mix of traditional Swiss values and the more laid-back Latin influences from across the border. Tiny alleyways lead to unmistakably Italian piazzas, where you can relax over a typically Italian lunch, but like everywhere else in Switzerland, traffic laws are obeyed without question. The town is a delight to explore being centered round the café-lined main square, ideal to people-watch whilst enjoying a superb coffee. Alternatively, you can explore the myriad of twisting lanes of the old town or the dense network of shops with their displays probably unmatched anywhere in the world. Lugano is a lovely place to idly wander, before we enjoy yet more outstanding scenery on our return journey to our hotel for dinner.

Day 4: Cernobbio, Argegno, and Tremezzina

Cernobbio is a small town sitting at the feet of Monte Bisbino, located northwest of Como.

Argegno is a small village overlooking Lake Como in the area of its major depth of around 410 meters. With Lake Como in front and Val d’Intelvi behind, Argegno is a major turning point.

Tremezzina, on the western banks of Lake Como, is the result of the recent merger of 4 communes. Ossuccio is a quiet part of Tremezzina where you can take a taxi boat to visit Isola Comacina, the only island in Lake Como. This small island, almost uninhabited, hosts important traces of local history and art. The hamlet of Lenno is home to Villa Balbianello, located at the tip of the Laveno headland. This famous villa has been used as the setting for a James Bond and Star Wars movie!

Day 5: Varenna & Menaggio

Varenna is a traditional village where time stands still. Piazza San Giorgo, the town center, is home to the Church of San Giorgo. Built in the 14th century somewhere between Romanesque and Gothic Styles, it hosts many paintings from the late 15th and 16th century. Heading towards the lake, Riva Grande is simply delightful. A walk among the colorful houses that brighten the village and along the Passeggiata degli innamorati (Walk of Lovers) brings you centuries back.

Menaggio is a town of ancient origins and is a walk in history and elegance. A walk along its streets will bring you to small boutiques and shops. You will also find the Church of Santa Marta where ancient paintings dating back to the 17th century adorn its interiors. The upper part of the town retains a medieval look and walking along the enormous perimeter walls of the ancient castle, now Via Castellino da Castello, takes you back a step in time. The hamlet of Loveno hosts the beautiful Villa Mylius Cigoni, surrounded by a large English garden, with the view of Lake Como behind it.

Day 6: Monza

This morning we travel to Monza, a hidden gem south of Lake Como. While the town is best known for its racetrack, nestled within Europe’s largest walled park, it has a lot more to offer. We will have free time here to explore the town and park, or perhaps experience this typically Italian town like a local would by enjoying a pleasant stroll, followed by a coffee in one of the pavement cafes around the pedestrianized town center. We return to our hotel in the afternoon.

Day 7: Transfer to Lake Garda via Bergamo Alta

We leave Bellagio to transfer to our accommodations in Lake Garda, passing by Bergamo Alta on the way there. Città Alta (Upper Town) is the old walled town nestled within a system of hills. The upper town is encircled by Venetian defensive systems, a UNESCO World Heritage site. After a day in Bergamo Alta, we continue onto Lake Garda and settle down into our hotel located in the southern portion of the lake.

Day 8: Desenzano del Garda and Sirmione

Desenzano, known as the capital of Lake Garda, stretches over a fairly large area that includes beaches, parks, a Roman Villa built in 4th century A.D., and the well-known hamlets of Rivoltella and San Martino della Battaglia. The heart of the city is Piazza Malvezzi and from here, it is a short walk to the well-preserved 11th century Castle of Desenzano. Shopping is also a must as you’ll be spoilt for choice.

We then hop over to Sirmione, built on the end of an impossibly thin, appendix-like peninsula sticking out from the southern shore of Lake Garda and its prettiest village.

Day 9: Verona

A short hop from the shores of stunning Lake Garda, Verona is more than just the setting to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet as it is also home to ancient Roman landmarks. Founded in 1st century B.C., it was part of the Republic of Venice from the 15th to 18th centuries.

Day 10: Malcesine

Today we proceed to Malcesine, a medieval hamlet bursting with history. The symbol of Malcesine is its Castle, rebuilt by the Scaligero family from Verona around 1300. It now contains the Monte Baldo and Garda Natural History Museum, and the “Gallery Room”. The Castle can only be reached after walking through the town, a walk well worth it, as the views from the top of the tower is guanteed to take your breath away.

Day 11: Transfer to Milan Malpensa Airport

We end this enchanting tour of the Italian Lakes today. You will be transported to the Milan Malpensa Airport to take your flight back home filled with wonderful memories of the fascinating area of the Italian lakes.

 

Bellagio – Via Giuseppi Garibaldi, Villa Melzi Gardens, Basilica of San giacomo, Piazza della Chiesa

Cernobbio – Piazza Risorgimento

Argegno – Church of Santissima Trinita, Argegno-Pigra cable car

Tremezzina – Ossuccio, Isola Comacina

Varenna – Piazza San Girogo, Church of San Giorgo, Passeggiata degli innamorati (Walk of Lovers), Villa Monastero, Villa Cipressi, Castello di Vezio

MenaggioChurch of Santa Marta, Via Castellino da Castello, Villa Mylius Cigoni

MonzaTeodolinda Chapel, Monza Park

Bergamo AltaCittà Alta (Upper Town), Rocca, Piazza Vecchia, Contarini Fountain, Palazzo Nuovo, Angelo Mai library, Campanone-Civic Tower

Desenzano del Garda – Piazza Malvezzi, Castle of Desenzano

SirmioneGrotte di Catullo, Chiesa San Pietro, Rocca Scaligera

VeronaGiardino Giusti, Roman Arena, Torre dei Lamberti, Palazzo della Ragione, Gallery of Modern Art

Malcesine – Malcesine Castle, Garda Natural History Museum, Chiesa della Madonna della Fontana

 

Tour fee is based on double occupancy.

INCLUSIONS:

  • Airport transfers
  • Land transportation
  • Accommodations
  • Breakfasts and dinners (excluding drinks).

EXCLUSIONS:

  • Flights
  • Ferry transfers
  • Other activities such as museum and park visits
  • Tour guide fees,
  • Lunch, snacks, mini-bar consumption and other drinks are for your personal expense.
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