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Indulge your appetite and treat the senses on this exquisite active journey through Italy's Lakes district. Hike the forested paths around Lakes Como and Garda, cycle through the Dolomite highlands and simply admire the stunning views at every turn. Ferry to and fro between lake villages and charming villas, clamber about the crumbling ruins of medieval castles and spend a day experiencing the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Milan. Idyllic in setting, laid-back in lifestyle, and a gastronomist's delight, this jaunt through one of Europe's most charming regions shouldn't disappoint. And if it somehow does, take the issue up with one of the local residents - like Sting or George Clooney.
Day 1: Lake Como
Buongiorno! Welcome to Italy. Please make your own way to the hotel. No activities are planned for today until tonight's important welcome meeting at 6 pm, so you can arrive at any time. If you arrive early why not take a wander around the historic town of Como and enjoy a drink in the main square or along the lake shore. After tonight's group meeting the evening is free, so perhaps go for dinner at one of the nearby traditional restaurants with your new travel companions.
Day 2: Kayaking & Hiking in Bellagio / Lake Como
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. You’ll head 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 other 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, if you’d like.
Day 3: Lake Como
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 – bellissimo!
Day 4: Milan / Lake Garda
This morning, take a train to one of Italy’s major hubs: Milan. You’ll stop here for a few hours to explore; you will be able to store your luggage at a locker room at the railway station. Take the metro into the city centre, where your leader will offer an orientation walk to get your bearings. Then, it is up to you to explore Milan at your own pace. Explore the city's historic centre, visit the city's most famous building, the Gothic Duomo, and walk between its rooftop sculptures, admiring the views and the stunning Gothic terrace. If you would like to see Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, The Last Supper, be sure to organise tickets well in advance. Your group will have a designated meeting time and place in the afternoon to regroup, then catch a train to the southern end of Lake Garda. There, you will transfer to a bus and arrive in the township of Garda. With a charming classic feel, this will be your base for the next few nights.
Day 5: Hiking at Lake Garda
Good morning from idyllic Lake Garda. Complete with its rocca (rock), a monastery and the remains of a medieval castle, the town of Garda is an enchanted place to explore on foot. Take a walking tour through the town before climbing up towards the rocca and the abbey, and after a steep ascent, be wowed with beautiful views over the lake. The rest of the day is as clear as the crisp air of the Italian Lakes. Being on the southern end of the lake and in one of the major villages, there is so much to see and explore In Garda. Perhaps book into one of the watersports on offer – this is a common holiday destination for locals, with sailing, windsurfing and stand-up paddle boarding all on offer.
Day 6: Biking in Riva del Garda / Malcesine / Lake Garda
Take a bus to the northern and more alpine side of the lake to Riva del Garda, passing many photogenic villages en route. On arrival, 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 out of Riva del Garda is mostly flat. Explore the remains of WWI in a place which until 100 years ago was the border between Austria and Italy. In the afternoon hop on a boat to the beautiful town of Malcesine with time for you to explore or just take in the lake views. Return to your accommodation in Garda by local bus in the late afternoon.
Day 7: Hiking at Lake Garda
After breakfast head down to the lake and follow the lake shore to Punta San Vigilio and on to Torre del Benaco. Return to Garda by public bus. You may wish to spend your afternoon relaxing by the lake. Otherwise, get on the water by taking the ferry to another one of the picturesque towns dotted around the lake. Sirmione is a good choice – a small peninsula that juts out of the southern end of the lake, full of restaurants, bars and spas. Inland from Garda, there are a selection of wineries which are also an ideal place to visit today.
Day 8: Lake Garda
After breakfast this morning you are free to leave the Italian Lakes district at any time. From Garda you can travel by bus to Verona, from where it is easy to reach other destinations in Italy by train. If you'd like to stay in the Italian Lakes region, we can organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).
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The trip was both both educational and exciting. I very much enjoyed the sights and culture.
The itinerary was just as I expected! The guide was very good as were the accomodations
Intrepid did such a great job. I never had to worry about where I was supposed to be and it felt so good not to worry about a thing but just to enjoy myself. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about culture and history.
Taiwan people very friendly. Accommodation were centrally located and easily accessible. Did extra activities then in brochure which was greatly.
Larus our tour guide did an excellent job and was very attentive to our needs. He is very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor.
Our guide Tarang chandola was exceptional. Courteous, knowledgeable, organized, polite, professional and went above and beyond taking care of our needs and requests offen anticipating what that might be. He made sure we all had the best possible time and offered suggestions to meet the needs of everyone on the tour. This made the trip even more enjoyable.
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