Lake Orta, Maggiore, Como and Lugano
Each corner of our itinerary is part of the complex mosaic of sights and experiences of the Italian Lakes. From the UNESCO sites of Orta and Cernobbio to the monumental gardens of Palazzo Borromeo on Isola Bella, the high-quality cycling and unique, lake-inspired gastronomy put this area on the “to-see” list of the curious traveler. We’ll pedal along some of the most famous lakes in the Piedmont and Lombardy region, with a spin to Lugano and Ascona, which boasts tropical plants and lemon trees. In the Lake Maggiore region we pedal into Valcannobina. The tour ends in Bellagio with a special visit to the Madonna del Ghisallo shrine and cycling museum, a regularly featured stop on the Giro di Lombardia classic pro bike race.
- Pristine pedaling along lakes in Piedmont, Lombardy and Ticino region of Switzerland
- Visit the Madonna del Ghisallo cycling museum
- Special wine tasting in Bellagio
- Savor high-quality northern Italian food
- Visit the Borromeo palace and majestic gardens of Isola bella
Day by Day
Orta San Giulio
We meet at the hotel for a light lunch and a warm up ride to Pella. If time permits, we’ll stop for a refreshing gelato before returning via ferry across the lake with a short stop to Isola San Giulio. The ancient burgh of Orta San Giulio has a distinctive appearance derived from the Renaissance and Baroque era, which is a feature of its fine townhouses and beautiful gardens. This evening we will return to the hotel for a gourmet dinner.
The highlight of today is a visit to the majestic Villa Borromeo and gardens, located on Isola Bella island on Lake Maggiore. This garden is known world-wide for it’s expansive plant species, a result of the labor and love of Scottish Captain McEacharn in 1931 who bought the estate with the dream of creating the garden of his dreams. The myriad of colors and scents of this marvelously landscaped garden enchants visitors to this day. It has thousands of species of trees and flowers from all over the world, planted over an area of around 16 hectares. Words don’t do this garden justice!
Cannobio Loop to Locarno
Today we ride along Valle Cannobina, then cross the border into the Swiss canton of Ticino. Ascona has the warmest climate in Switzerland, located on the northern shore of Lake Maggiore.. Palm and lemon trees flourish in this area, giving this city a special charm. In the heart of Locarno is the Piazza Grande, well-known for its annual film festival (August). There’s also the Castello Visconteo, a castle dating back to the 12th century, and said to have been established as a result of the appearance of the Virgin Mary. It is the most notable sight in Locarno.
Today we visit Lugano and the glacial Lake Lugano, nestled between Lake Maggiore and Lake Como. It is the smallest of the three lakes, but does not lack beauty and charm with its mountainous backdrop and Mediterranean-like climate. If you prefer more climbing, an alternative, more challenging ride will lead you through Valle d’Intelvi on the southern side of Lake Lugano. At the end of the day we cross into Menaggio/Griante, Lombardy, where we’ll take a ferry to our final destination Bellagio.
Today is a special visit to the Madonna del Ghisallo shrine and cycling museum. Madonna del Ghisallo is the patron saint of cycling. Legend has it that in medieval times, a local count was being attacked by bandits when he saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary, and running towards the vision saved him. In 1949, the small chapel became a shrine to cycling legends, and provides a memorial to those who have fallen. This stop is regularly featured on the Giro di Lombardia. Our ride will continue to final climb to Colma Sormano where we will be rewarded with a wealthy picnic based on local products from the pastoral area.
This morning after breakfast around 9 am, we offer a shuttle to Como Nord Lago train station (approximately 45 minutes), where you can catch a train to Milan (MXP) changing in Saronno. The trains will take approximately 1.25 hours, so please plan accordingly.
- Carbon bike rental equipped with Garmin Edge Touring GPS
- Informative tour leaders throughout the program
- Ciclismo jersey and water bottle
- Post tour shuttle
On The Tour
- Van support
- 1 wine tasting
- Ferries and visits to museums
Accommodations & Meals
- All accommodations
- All breakfasts
- 2 lunches
- 4 dinners
Here’s a sampling of some of the amazing places you’ll stay on your journey.
For a full listing, request a detailed itinerary!
This 4-star hotel is located on Lake Maggiore, and it will enchant you with pleasant colored surprised and old romantic atmospheres.
View their website
Grand Hotel Victoria
The 4-star Grand Hotel Victoria is a corner of paradise on Lake Como. It is immersed in a splendid garden with century old trees, directly facing Lake Como, with a breathtaking view of the center part of the lake and Bellagio. The building offers 55 rooms, many have lake view and some also have a balcony.
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Hotel Villa Serbelloni
Set on the promontory halfway out into Lake Como, this circa- 1850 hotel with Italian-style gardens is 3 km from the Villa Carlotta gardens, and 8 km from the Villa of Balbianello. The elegant, traditional rooms with antique furnishings and carpeted floors feature free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning, and private bathrooms with bath tubs and double sinks. Some rooms offer private balconies with lake views. Complimentary breakfast is served in the bright, open restaurant next to the pool and gardens.
View their website