The Italian Lakes Como, Maggiore, Orta & Lugano
The spectacular Italian lake district, long-time favorite haunt of the rich and famous, is our home for this seven-day trip.
Walking alpine peaks and mountain trails, lakeside paths and flower-filled meadows, we discover a world beyond the society glamor, one filled with dainty plants, elegant Renaissance villas, marble cathedrals and vintage railways. We take a cruise across Lake Orta and admire San Giulio Island's Monastery. In the Lake Maggiore we explore the Borromean Islands and the Palace.
At Lugano we travel by private boat and cog railway to Monte Generoso, where we eat lunch in a rustic mountain hut before descending to Lake Como.
7 days, 6 nights
Walk Rating: Moderate to Energetic. Waterside paths and alpine trails at up to 7,000 feet, some steep descents. 10-12 miles walking per day.
US$4395.00 per person double occupancy
US$4395.00 per person double occupancy
Walk begins in Orta, with arrival at Novara Rail Station and ends in Como, with departure from Como Rail Station.
We rendezvous in Novara for our transfer to Orta San Giulio. Novara is situated on the plain between the rivers Sesia and Ticino, which is the center of a large rice growing area. The historic center has a typically 19th century look with fine small palazzos built for the nobility side by side with older buildings such as the Battistero (Baptistry) and the Palazzo del Broletto.
We cross the Lake of Orta by private boat and then walk on stone paths, a good climb of 2000 feet with wonderful views of the lake, through ancient villages where time has stood still. We descend to have lunch in a typical pizzeria. In the afternoon, our private boat takes us to visit the island of San Giulio and then back to Orta where we wander through the charming little streets of the village to visit the famed gardens of Villa Motta where we also enjoy dinner. The historic 19th century villa provided shelter for the refugees of World War II and today its lakeside garden showcases glorious azaleas and camellias.
We walk from Monte Mottarone up to Monte Falo and down to a picturesque village, where we stop for refreshment in a cozy inn. We walk down through a chestnut wood before taking a lift by minibus to lunch on a terrace overlooking the lake. In the afternoon, we can choose to walk around Stresa and enjoy some shopping or cruise the lake to visit the Borromean Islands of Isola Bella and Isola dei Pescatori, having a guided tour of The Palace.
We leave Stresa by ferry and van to cross the border into Switzerland arriving in the area of Lake Lugano, A funicular takes us to the top of Monte San Salvatore where we have lunch in a restaurant with an incredible view over the lake and the mountains. We then walk on to the botanical gardens of San Grato and down to our lakeside hotel at Vico Morcote.
We walk today on Monte Generoso, which we reach by private boat across the lake to Capolago and by cog railway, with views across the Plain of Lombardy and the peak of Monte Rosa. We lunch at a mountain hut and descend to Argegno and our hotel on the western shore of Lake Como. Note: Cograil can sometimes be canceled due to bad weather, alternative arrangement will be made.
We hike the shoreline of Lake Como known as the 'Looking Glass of Venus'. Stopping at the18th-century Villa Carlotta, we admire the villa's splendid garden and romantic sculptures. We sail across the lake to dock straight on the jetty of a 14th- century inn, for our lunch under a pergola. This afternoon we have the choice of walking to the gardens of Villa Melzi or shopping in the old town of Bellagio.
We take the ferry to Como and a walking tour of the bustling town at the head of its eponymous lake, with its marble cathedral, old quarter and shops specializing in the local silk, before saying 'arrivederci'.
This itinerary represents a typical Walk. We prepare itineraries well in advance of the trip and therefore we reserve the right to make changes due to weather, local events or other circumstances - but always to improve the experience of our guests.
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This hotel list is a provided as an example. We may use different hotels of the same quality and style on specific trips. The Wayfarers will notify confirmed travelers of any changes to the hotels.
Before & After Your Walk:
Visit Milan. A few highlights include:
- Unparalled chic shopping at fashion and interior design boutiques
- The Duomo (gothic Cathedral where it is possible to admire the town landscape from the roof)
- La Scala Opera
- The Last Supper ( the famous fresco of Leonardo da Vinci) - but be sure to book your visit well in advance (www.tickitaly.com)
- the Castle (built by the Renaissance noble Family Sforza)
The meandering Lakes of Como & Lugano boast an almost Mediterranean warm micro climate. Located on the south side of the Alps, temperatures are generally high but are tempered by gentle winds from the mountains surrounding the lake. In June and September, daily temperatures reach around 70ºF (21ºC) with night time lows of around 54ºF (12ºC). A föhn wind sometimes blows from the north, raising temperatures. In June & September, sunshine averages around 7 hours a day. However, thunderstorms can be frequent in spring and autumn so you should bring good quality rain protection.
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Are there any hidden costs?
Our Vacations do not include the cost of air or rail fares to and from the destination or tips for your walk leader and manager.
How large are the Groups?
Our maximum group size is 16, but groups average between 8-12 people.
Will I feel welcome as a single traveler?
Yes! Our walks are the perfect environment of comfortable camaraderie for the single traveler.
Can you accommodate special diets?
How physically fit do I have to be to do a Wayfarers Walk?
If you are in good health and reasonably fit you will be comfortable participating in a walk.
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