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For centuries, the Italian lakes have inspired poets, artists and travellers with their majestic beauty. You'll find it hard to resist the charm of this region as you walk through vineyards, olive groves, and past luxurious villas - oh and maybe George Clooney!
Day 1: Milan
Arrive in Milan, Italy's second largest city, the capital of Lombardy, and the country's wealthiest province. No activities are planned until tonight's group meeting, so you may arrive at any time. Your hotel is centrally located and close to all the major sights. After the meeting the evening is yours to spend as you please. Perhaps enjoy some dinner in a local traditional restaurant.
Day 2: Milan / Como / Menaggio
Enjoy a walking tour of Milan this morning. See the Gothic Duomo, the city's most famous building – walking in between the sculptures on its roof is an amazing experience. Walk through the beautiful Galleria to the Teatro alla Scala, arguably Italy’s most famous opera house. Explore some shops in the fashion district and visit the medieval castle and its beautiful park. Lunch is optional today – you can choose to eat in a local restaurant or pick up a ‘panino’ if you prefer. In the early afternoon you will drive north to Lake Como (Lago di Como), an area of stunning beauty, full of unique and evocative landscapes. Stop en route for a stroll around the medieval town centre of Como. There will be time for a drink, either on Como's amazing town square or along the lake shore, before driving around the eastern side of the lake. Strewn with elegant villas and crowned by an old castle, Menaggio will be your base for the next three nights.
Day 3: Lake Como / Tremezzo / Bellagio / Menaggio
In the morning, you will travel to the lakeside village of Tremezzo by local lake ferry and explore the splendid Villa Carlotta and its beautiful gardens overlooking the lake. Take another boat to the central part of Lake Como to visit the pretty village of Bellagio, the Pearl of the lake, situated on the Punta Spartivento (literally the point that divides the wind), where the two arms of Lake Como meet. With inspiring views of the lake and the distant mountains, brightly painted houses adorned with flower-filled balconies, a bustling waterfront and a maze of meandering cobblestone streets, Bellagio is a delightful place to explore. Embark on a short walk through the countryside – past a picturesque fishing harbour and beautiful villas. Perhaps enjoy a picnic lunch en route, on the beach or just along the lake shore, or instead you may want just to relax and eat in a trattoria somewhere in the village. End your walk in the gardens of beautiful Villa Melzi. This grand white villa sits just back from the water and its surrounding estate is filled with a plethora of rare and exotic plant life. Another ferry ride takes you back to charming Menaggio.
Day 4: Lake Como / Menaggio
Today is a free day for you to enjoy all Menaggio and the surrounding area has to offer. Depending on your energy levels there are several varying routes in the area. A great option is for you to take a short ferry ride to the city of Varenna, deemed by some to be the most romantic town of Italy. From here a short walk heads to the castle of Vezio, and the remains of this military fortress, which was used as sighting tower in the days of Queen Teodolinda. Alternatively, you may prefer to relax and see the sights of pretty Menaggio or get active and head to the mountain hut above Menaggio, situated on the southern slope of Mount Grona. The walk is challenging in sections, but the visual rewards are spectacular with peerless views of Lake Como and the surrounding mountains. The first portion of the walk goes through forest and pastoral land, before heading steeply uphill to the 'rifugio' itself. This is a great scenic setting to enjoy a picnic lunch. There are plenty of other walks to be enjoyed. Make sure you ask your leader for suggestions.
Day 5: Lake Iseo / Limone / Riva del Garda
Today you’ll take a private transfer to the most northern point of Lake Como, the charming small town of Riva del Garda. On your way stop by crystal clear Lago d’lseo (Lake Iseo), northern Italy's fouth largest lake, for an optional walk and lunch. Continue to Limone sul Garda, a village named after the many lemon groves that surround it (literally 'lemons on Lake Garda'). Walk up through the old cobbled streets to the edge of town, where the landscape changes from Mediterranean to alpine. Visit an old Limonaia (Lemon Farm) – Limone was the world's northernmost point for citrus groves grown for commercial purposes: hundreds of thousands of lemons were exported mainly to Germany, Poland and Russia, thus guaranteeing many jobs and considerable profits for the area. It's worth spending some time strolling along the steep and narrow lanes of the old centre of Limone before transferring to your accommodation in Riva del Garda. This evening, you might like to dine with the group under the medieval arches in the medieval town centre among the colourful painted houses.
Day 6: Lake Garda / Riva del Garda
Today, discover the great and varied landscapes around Lake Garda. Take a public 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’s dominated by its ‘rocca’ (rock), complete with an abbey and the remains of a medieval castle. You will take a short and leisurely walking tour through the village to buy some picnic supplies before climbing up towards the abbey, where, after a steep but short and pleasant climb, you will be rewarded with beautiful views over the lake. Here you will have the chance to enjoy an optional picnic at an incredibly scenic spot. Those wishing to opt out of this walk can wander around the medieval alleys in town, enjoy lunch in Garda or relax on the lakefront. There's also an optional afternoon walk along easy terrain to the peninsula of San Vigilio. There is a fairytale-like feel to this small medieval hamlet. You may wish to spend some time here on the lake, have a drink or relax in the park. In the late afternoon, travel back to Riva del Garda by public bus and take in views of the lake's eastern side.
Day 7: Malcesine / Riva del Garda
Today, you’ll briefly leave Riva del Garda and take a leisurely 1-hour walk along the lake shore to Torbole. Enjoy scenic views across Lake Garda as you travel by public ferry to Malcesine (approximately 1 hour). On arrival, the spectacular views continue as you board the funivia (cable car) up to Monte Baldo – from snow-dusted Alpine peaks to the jagged terrain of mountains melting into the softer scenery of the lowlands, admire every perspective as the rotating cabins glide up to 1800 metres above sea-level within just a few minutes. For those feeling energised and adventurous, there are a selection of hiking options available at the top of Monte Baldo – otherwise, why not relax in the serenity of the peaceful surrounds and perhaps indulge in a delicious lunch while marvelling over phenomenal vistas. Afterward, return to Malcesine and enjoy time at leisure to explore this pretty town. Later this afternoon, join the locals and return to Riva del Garda via public bus.
Day 8: Riva del Garda / Verona
After breakfast, travel by private minibus from Riva del Garda to Verona. Your trip comes to an end on arrival at Verona train station this morning.
- Arrival Transfer from Milan Malpensa Airport
- Milan Walking Tour
- Milan - Duomo Rooftop Visit
- Villa Melzi
- Villa Carlotta
- Lake Como Boat Trip
- Stopover at Lake Iseo
- Limonaia Visit in Limone
- Lake Garda Boat Trip
- Rocca Abbey Hike
- Boat Trip to Malcesine
- Hike on Monte Baldo
- Monte Baldo Cable Car
7 Breakfast(s) Included
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