Bike Trips in the Italian Lake District

Italian Lakes (Italian Lake District Bike Trips)

On this page, you will find...

Our Italian Lakes route roughly follows the Italian / Swiss border through the Alps, circling three beautiful and world-renowned lakes:  Maggiore, Lugano and Como.  As our Swiss route often visits France, our Italian Alps route dips into Italian-speaking Switzerland.  The contrast is beyond entertaining....

Deep valleys with stone towns carved out of the rock walls.  Vineyards on shelves high above your pastoral cycle route.  Little white ferries criss-crossing the lakes.  Dramatic views in all diretions. 

And yet the mountains seem greener and more welcoming than their austere cousins just to the north.  Or perhaps the softer impression comes from the flower-covered villas reflected in the azure waters.... 

The cuisine is all you’d expect, northern Italy at its finest.  Pastas with refined sauces, mushrooms you never imagined, game and the freshest of lake fish, all accompanied by luscious and varied wines. 

This trip lends itself particularly well to a pre- or post-ride city visit:  Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome are all within 4 hours by train.

The following trips visit
the Italian Lakes:

Giro d’Italia (3 weeks)
Visits 3 of our Italian itineraries:  Tuscany, Umbria, and the Italian Lakes — not offered in 2017

Alpine Lakes (2 weeks)
Visits Switzerland, then the Italian Lakes

Alpine Italy (2 weeks)
Visits the Italian Lakes and the Dolomites — not offered in 2017

France & Italy (2 weeks)
Visits the Italian Lakes and one of our French routes (no departures include this route in 2017)

Italian Lakes follows this itinerary exclusively.
Departure dates and prices are in the “Facts & Figures” table, below.

Our Cycle Trips

Overview Map
of the places we stage trips

Departure Calendar
of our scheduled trips

Trips by Length / Title

Short Trips from Paris

What's Included
... the Trip Cost

Additional Services...
...which you can add to your trip.

Other Trips We Offer


Day-by-Day Itinerary:   Italian Lakes

Day of the Week
Typical distances, in km
Our trip meets in Brig, Switzerland, on the afternoon of the start date.  See our Access Package for hints on getting there.

Those joining this itinerary from Zermatt do not actually “meet” here at all, but rather cycle through at your own pace on your way to this evening’s stop in Domodossola.

Newcomers pedal around the station parking lot to get used to the bikes.  Like many Swiss train stations, Brig’s has trains running through the parking lot in addition to those inside the building, so this is more of an adventure than you might imagine.  They come in handy, though, if they don’t squash you first:  we use one to pass under a huge Alp via the Simplon tunnel, and into Italy.  An easy bike ride brings us down the valley on the far side.

Half Baggage
25 k
Breakfast surrounded by the mountains.  Before you leave town, be sure to check out Domodossola's beautiful, eliptical piazza, an idyllic spot for a 2nd breakfast cappucino.

We mount our bikes and enjoy the gentle downhill roll in the sun, following the wide, sleepy valley to Lago Maggiore.  The villages we pass are built of the stone carved from the surrounding mountains, lending a soothing harmony to what would otherwise be an austere scene.  Just a harbinger of greater glory to come.

We reach the lakes at Mergozzo, and cycle along the shore to Verbania, our home for the next two nights.  Spend the evening hours admiring the flower-covered villas overlooking this wonderful lake.
50 k

From our Verbania base, sally forth for a day of lake fun.  Visit Stresa, the Montreux of the Italian Alps.  Ferry out to the Borromean islands, especially Isola Bella, for the Borromeo family palace, terraced gardens complete with white peacocks (peahens, actually), and an antique fishing village.  Swimming and boating are other options.

The lake’s shores have been inhabited since the iron age, and the towns have steadily evolved since, producing some architectural gems.  Cyclists can head up-lake for a stunning mountain ride to Santa Maria Maggiore, and the only chimney sweep museum we have ever found.  But then, we aren't generally on the lookout for them.

Many options,
0 - 100 k
A ferry takes us across the lake to Laveno to start the morning.  Iced tea with peach juice is the bar specialty on the Intra harbour, before you board.

Turning north, we follow the lake shore along a winding road of little villages and splendid vistas.  Take time to swim, to delve into more of the unforgettable local cuisine, or relax in the sun on a quiet piazza off the road. Idyllic!

The amazing Luino market will capture your attention for a time:  everyone on the lake, packed into one town!  200 market stalls selling fresh fish and Chinese trinkets (not usually at the same stall).

In the afternoon we cross into Italian-speaking Switzerland and turn away from the lake, following the base of the mountain.  A train ride pulls us over an impressive ridge and down to the Cerisio, a.k.a. Lago di Lugano.  Stop in Lugano for a visit, if you're in the mood:  Italian Switzerland's biggest city is oh-so-Swiss... or is it?   Night in Switzerland, in a small town on the lake.

Half Baggage
50 or 70 k
A dream day of cycling on quiet roads along Lake Lugano’s shores.  Beautiful Morcote, built up a mountain side to a crowning vineyard, starts us off.  Check out the church’s fabulous mosaics, or the stone shopping arcades along the lake.

Then on along the water.  Cross from Switzerland to Italy, back to Switzerland, back to Italy... you loose track, and anyway, who cares?  It's all gorgeous. 

Stop for a break at the chocolate factory in Ponte Tresa.  Free samples, and a chocolate fountain.  Yum!  Wander through merlot vineyards in Mendrisio.

The evening brings us to the jewel of the Italian lakes, Lago di Como, and to the city of the same name.
55 or 65 k
For Stendhal, the Lago di Como was the most beautiful place in the world.  It is certainly in the running.  Rossini’s music was inspired by it, and 16th century villas with their toes in the water line its banks.  Residences of cardinals and princes have been transformed into palatial hotels (come back when you make CEO).

Today, one of our favorite loops (senza paniers) takes us along the shores of the lake to Bellagio, perched on a tip of land between its two branches.  Then down the other arm to come home.  It makes for a full and unmatchable day of culture, vistas, cuisine, and biking.
30, 50, 60 or 75 k
Saturday and Beyond
COMO, VILLA d’ESTE, Travel Onwards
A morning free to relax or to explore Como.  Then a short bike ride along the lake shore to Villa d’Este, and up to the railway Chiasso railway station, where our trip disbands at midday.  If you are continuing to Salzburg, you will train there this afternoon.

If your trip ends here, the “Access Package” includes tonight in Como, to position you for ongoing travel tomorrow morning.

Half Baggage

20 k

Italian Lakes — Facts & Figures
2018 Dates

Baggage Services Offered**
Difficulty of the Ride
June 10 - 16
$1,995 US
$2,495 C
1,495 €
Daily, Half

Some distance, a few hills, good back-ups.  Suggested rides are doable for all, but a work-out if you’re new to this and refuse occasional help from the train. 

Conversely, the trip can be classed as “easy” if you shave off a few corners and choose short options on “loop” (out and back to the same hotel) days.

Later dates TBD
Follow this link to help choose them
Daily, Half
* Prices in $ and € do not include precisely the same things.  Click here for details.

Prices of Optional Extras (links lead to explanations)
$ prices include
the bike.
See here for information on bringing your own.
** At least 4 riders must subscribe to a given baggage service for it to operate.  The services listed are those currently offered on the departure in question.  Services which appear in bold already have at least 3 subscribers (so, one more would ensure their operation).

Reaching & Leaving Your Trip:  General Information on Access Packages
Specific information on reaching your trip’s start in... Brig
Specific information on departing from your trip’s end... Como