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Italy: Lake Como & the Italian Lake District

Italy’s Lake Como tour is a true hidden gem for cyclists. Among these dramatic hills and crystalline waters, the riding is surprisingly easy along flat bike paths and breathtaking valleys. Join VBT and let your spirit soar as high as the alpine peaks that surround you. The sun-dappled waters of three major lakes – Garda, Iseo and Como – are never far from sight as you sample sparkling wines in Franciacorta, Italy’s scenic “Champagne” region. Gaze upon the ancient rock carvings of Nadro. Ride the spectacular Bernina Railway among splendid peaks. Pedal among the terraced vineyards of the Valtellina Valley. Lakeside, a private boat whisks you from shore to shore, for quick and easy exploration, and elegant accommodations welcome you at the close of each day of outstanding discoveries.

Tour Highlights

  • Sample delicious sparkling wines at a cantina in Franciacorta, Italy’s “Champagne” region.
  • Cycle the scenic lakeside bike paths around Lake Iseo, made famous when artist Christo installed his “floating piers” here.
  • Marvel at breathtaking scenery when you ride the UNESCO-listed Bernina railway, then cycle or hike among the splendid Bernina peaks.
  • Ride the easy bike paths of the Valtellina valley, blanketed in vineyard terraces among miles of dry-stone walls.
  • Taste delicious Pizzoccheri pasta and local cheeses only found in Valtellina.

What to Expect

This tour offers easy terrain and is suitable for beginning cyclists who are comfortable with some easy uphill rides and riding on packed gravel paths. Unpaved terrain is approximately 10% of the entire cycling offered. The tour runs mostly on dedicated and well-marked bike paths as well as country roads. We recommend a hybrid bike or an E-bike for this tour. Road bikes are available, but riders should be aware that on land-package days 2, 4, and 5 there are some short stretches on unpaved paths or roads. Our VBT support vehicle is always available for those who would like assistance with hills.

  • Daily Mileage: 9 - 46|
  • Biking: 1 - 5 hr|
Activity Easy/Moderate Easy / Moderate
Cycling
Bar Graph Beginner - Experienced
Cyclists
Vehicle Support Vehicle
Support

Average High /
Low Temperature (°F):

May72º/49º

Jun79º/56º

Jul79º/59º

Aug81º/61º

Sep75º/55º

Oct63º/47º

Average
Precipitation:

May2.8 in

Jun2.5 in

Jul1.5 in

Aug2.6 in

Sep2.2 in

Oct2.7 in

Air Package

Tour Only

Roundtrip international airfare Check
Airport car service for arrival and departure Check
One night in Sirmione on Lake Garda and one night in Bellagio in lakeside hotels with daily breakfast Check
6 nights in 4-star lakeside hotels and one eco-friendly hotel Check Check
12 meals: 6 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 4 dinners Check Check

Road Bicycle (Carbon frame)

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Step-Through Electric-Assisted Bicycle (E-bike)

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Step-Through (Mixte Hybrid) Comfort Bicycle

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Step-Over (Diamond) Comfort Bicycle

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Biking Packages Include:

Custom VBT Bike and Helmet

Two Local, Bilingual Trip Leaders

Vehicle Support

Luggage Transfers

Ride with GPS and Daily Route Notes

Welcome Reception

Facilitated Cultural Experiences

Your Choice of VBT Branded Gear for Your Adventure

Itinerary

Wed, May 18 to Fri, May 27 - 2022

Show Itinerary:

All you have to do is get to the airport. On our Air Packages, we’ll take care of the rest, handling all the logistics, so you can travel with peace of mind. Spend your first night aloft and arrive refreshed for an unforgettable trip.

A VBT representative will greet you at the Verona airport to start your adventure off right. a complimentary car service will whisk you to your centrally located hotel in Sirmione. From here, you are perfectly positioned to explore this charming city at your leisure.

Accommodation: Hotel Ideal, Sirmione

After an included breakfast at your Sirmione hotel, check out by 11:00 a.m. and store your luggage at the reception desk. Enjoy a free morning, strolling the medieval city or enjoying the hotel amenities. Meet your VBT trip leaders at 12:45 p.m. in the hotel lobby. They will be wearing VBT staff garments. Please plan to have lunch and change into your biking clothes before this meeting. Your trip leaders will hold a safety talk at the hotel for about 45 minutes. Afterwards you walk a short distance to board your private motorcoach. En route to Sulzano, scenically situated on Lake Iseo, you stop to enjoy a warm-up ride along quiet country roads and through small villages into the medieval town of Iseo. From there follow the lakeshore, taking advantage of a local bike path for part of the way.

In the afternoon, settle in your romantic lakeside hotel in the picturesque village of Sulzano. You might recognize the postcard-picture of Monte Isola within the lake, made famous in 2016 when artist Christo placed yellow floating piers to connect the island of Monte Isola and the private islet of San Paolo to the mainland. That summer, in only 16 days, 1,300,000 people walked these piers to discover this incredible place.

Tonight, enjoy a welcome cocktail reception on the hotel’s lakeside manicured terrace and get to know your fellow travelers. Then board a private ferry to Monte Isola to enjoy your welcome dinner in a very special and scenic location.

Today’s Ride Choice

Afternoon: Warm-up – 14 km (9 miles)

What to Expect: Today’s warm up-ride follows slightly undulated country roads to the small town of. Iseo. Your ride continues on flat terrain along Lake Iseo, partly on a bike path, to Sulzano and your hotel. The ride is easy and mostly paved.

Cumulative Distance Range: 14 km (9 miles)
Accommodation: Hotel Rivalago, Sulzano
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast, set off to explore the stunning shores of Lake Iseo by private boat and by bike. Also known as Sebino, the crystal-clear Lake Iseo is the fourth largest lake in Lombardy. Its shores are renowned for their lush mountains, medieval towns, and scenic roadways carved into the hillsides. A private boat whisks you to Monte Isola island in just five minutes. Despite its size, it is one of Italy’s official “most beautiful villages” and was ranked the third Best European Destination in 2019. Take time here to stroll its cobbled lanes and discovery its countless old-world charms. Then set off on a 6-mile loop around the entire island, before boarding your boat again. Journey across the lake to start riding along the dramatic western side. Our route includes a remarkably picturesque and thrilling stretch between Riva di Solto and Castro. Here, the road, carved out of the mountain, runs high up on a cliff, past a waterfall and through short tunnels. Soon you arrive in Lovere, regularly rated as one of the most beautiful villages of Italy. Take time here if you wish to visit its frescoed basilica church, imposing civic tower, and piazza.

Continue cycling to Pisogne where options for lunch on your own are numerous. Later between Toline and Vello, you ride along the sheer and rocky side of the mountain, with sweeping views of the lake below and the alpine vistas beyond. In the distance, marvel at the vistas of several spurs, including the massive wall of the Bogn di Castro cliff.

Tonight, relax and enjoy your hotel’s amenities before dining on the manicured terrace.

Today’s Ride Choices

Morning: Montisola Loop, Riva di Solto to Pisogne – 24.5 km (15 miles)
Afternoon: Pisogne to Sulzano – 16 km (10 miles)

What to Expect: Today’s ride, except for a 2-mile climb on Monte Isola, follows an easy, relaxing, and well-paved bike path along Lake Iseo.

Cumulative Distance Range: 24.5-40.5 km (15-25 miles)
Accommodation: Hotel Rivalago, Sulzano
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast, you head south into Franciacorta, affectionately known as the “Champagne” of Italy. This scenic region of rolling vineyards produces excellent sparkling wines from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, including Berlucchi and Ca’del Bosco. The traditions of sparkling wine go back several centuries, about a year before the monk Dom Perignon arrived in French Champagne in 1570!

You follow a partially protected cycleway this morning passing quiet monasteries and manicured vineyards. Around lunch time, stop at a small local family-run winery. This lovely farm, with its own vegetable garden, livestock, olive oil, and honey, was founded around 1600; the grape harvest is still carried out exclusively by hand to control and guarantee the quality. As our guide Francesca – who runs the farm with her brother Gianluca – leads us on a tour of the cantina, she explains their classic method of winemaking and why the farm only sells its wines here, on property.

Your tour ends just in time for lunch on the sunny terrace. As an apertivo, sample the house Brut and Saten; each has rested 24 months before being opened and served fresh for us. Then savor hand-made casoncelli, a stuffed pasta, prepared and seasoned by Francesca’s mother Daniela with farm-fresh ingredients. After, follow a different route back to the hotel, weaving though quaint hamlets and past wineries.

This evening, dinner is on your own. Stroll into Iseo, exploring its pedestrian-only cobbled streets and vaulted alleyways, browsing its welcoming shops, and finding an ideal spot for dinner on an intimate back street or on the elegant marina.

Today’s Ride Choices

Morning: Sulzano to Al Rocol – 36 km (22 miles)
Afternoon: Al Rocol to Sulzano – 21 km (13 miles)

What to Expect: Today’s ride is easy to moderate, following gently rolling hills mostly on country roads and bike paths. Your route is almost completely on paved terrain.

Cumulative Distance Range: 36 or 57 km (22 or 35 miles)
Accommodation: Hotel Rivalago, Sulzano
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast, leave Lake Iseo by private boat to Marone to enjoy your final ride on the eastern bank. From here start cycling along its shores. You soon coast into the green park of the Oglio River, a roaring river whose source is in the Alps. Follow its banks on a spectacularly scenic and varied path. You pedal through Valcamonica, the largest valley of the central Alps and once the only trade route to the Republic of Venice and the sea.

In prehistoric times, this region was inhabited by the Camuni, an ancient people conquered by Rome in the 1st century. As you ride, you come upon relics of this population, like the mysterious sanctuary of Minerva and the picturesque town of Cividate Camuno. The most impressive remains are the rock engravings carved from the Neolithic to the Iron Ages. In the shade of a natural reserve near Nadro, among chestnut, fir and beech, 500 are preserved, but the etchings number in the hundreds of thousands throughout the valley. In 1979, the rock drawings in Valcamonica were named the first UNESCO World Heritage site in Italy. You stop for a visit early this afternoon.

Later today, you travel via the Aprica mountain pass into the Valtellina valley. Your destination is the city of Tirano, nestled at the foot of the Bernina mountains and gateway to Switzerland. If you are familiar with the Giro d’Italia bicycle race, you might recognize the names of some of the peaks that surround you – Mortirolo, Gavia, Stelvio – all epic stages of the famous race with grades of up to 23 percent!

Settle in to the eco-friendly Curt di Clement and enjoy a welcome cocktail and short presentation of this historical house. Tonight, dine at a local traditional restaurant, savoring the specialties of Valtellina, including buckwheat noodles served with Casera cheese, and Bresaola, a dried cured meat.

Today’s Ride Choices

Morning: Marone to Cividate Camuno – 36 km (22 miles)
Afternoon: Cividate Camuno to Nadro – 13 km (8 miles)

What to Expect: Today’s route follows Lake Iseo’s eastern bank for several well-paved, flat miles. Then you’ll enter a valley and follow the Oglio Riverbanks, a stretch that is occasionally unpaved. Over the next few miles, you gain about 1,800 feet in altitude. You’ll ride in sunny areas, then forested and shaded stretches, crossing the roaring river several times. It’s never a dull ride today. The last 2 miles before the archaeological site are uphill. In the natural reserve at Nadro, you will walk about 2 miles. Please pack good walking shoes for the rocky terrain in the van.

Cumulative Distance Range: 36-49 km (22-30 miles)
Accommodation: Curt di Clement, Tirano
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

After a hearty breakfast, you leave Tirano on the famous Bernina Express train. This magnificent rail adventure crosses the border into Switzerland and climbs to the glistening Albula and Bernina glaciers. In total, the railway passes through 55 tunnels, crosses 196 bridges and ascends inclines of up to 7 percent. It is the highest railway crossing in all of Europe and in 2008 some segments of it were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site for its outstanding engineering prowess and for its early impact – it opened in 1904 – on the socioeconomics of the region. Sitting in dome-window panoramic cars, you marvel at sweeping alpine vistas en route to your next extraordinary cycling destination.

After a breathtaking journey, you alight at the highest point at Ospizio Bernina, on White Lake. Here at 2,309 meters at sea level you start an exhilarating ride losing some elevation till Pontresina. If you prefer, or if the weather is inclement, you can stay on the train for four more stops and get off in Pontresina. The Engadin region, a long alpine valley surrounded by soaring peaks offers spectacular views. From Pontresina , you cycle into the Roseg Valley, or walk along spectacular hiking trails. Your ride follows a gradual ascending, unpaved road free from car traffic; only the crackle of your tires on the gravel and the whir of horse sledges carrying passengers and goods to the lodge at the bottom of the valley break the silence. Your unbelievably scenic ride delivers you to the Roseggletscher Mountain Lodge*, nestled at 6,000 feet. From here you may continue on foot toward the glacier. Savor a well-earned lunch here as you soak in the splendor and tranquility of nature.

Back in Tirano, be sure to take time to stroll the alleys of the Old Town, admiring the medieval palaces and the city gates that are said to have been planned by Leonardo da Vinci in the 15th century. Visit the splendid Renaissance Basilica della Madonna di Tirano, where the Virgin Mary is believed to have appeared in 1504. There’ll be time, too, to shop in some of the many boutiques. Your trip leaders will have plenty of tantalizing suggestions for dinner on own.

*The Roseggletscher Mountain Lodge opens mid-June and is the only place that serves food in this valley. If the lodge isn’t open you will ride back to have lunch on your own at a different restaurant in Pontresina. Horse sledges do not operate until mid-June, so only biking is offered

Today’s Ride Choice

Morning: Ospizio Bernina to Pontresina – 15 km (9 miles) | Roseg Valley – 14 km (9 miles)

What to Expect: The optional ride, Ospizio Bernina to Pontresina, is a 15 km ride along the well paved, large, main road with some car traffic, especially from mid-June when high season begins. It is possible to skip this ride by getting off at the Pontresina train station. The Roseg Valley ride is on a well-worn, there-and-back unpaved path. It is a not to be missed ride. If you prefer, you can hike half of it (4.3 miles) and then come back by horse sledge at an additional cost. Plan to bring good hiking shoes. You can choose the slightly rolling and very scenic upper route, or the flat lower route along the Ova stream. The valley is gorgeous and popular with hikers, including families with kids.

Cumulative Distance Range: 15-29 km (9-18 miles)
Accommodation: Hotel Curt di Clement, Tirano
Included Meals: Breakfast

Today you follow a flat and relaxing route along the Adda River from Tirano to the shores of Lake Como. You ride on the well-marked Adda River cycle path, traversing the Rhaetian and Orobic Alps south of the Swiss Canton of Grabuenden. This is a beloved paradise for bikers of any ability and it has a long cycling tradition: The cycle tourist’s guide of Valtellina, which describes more than 40 itineraries in this region of outstanding beauty, was first edited by the Italian Touring Club in 1906!

As you ride, marvel at castles and churches perched high up on the slopes. Pedal past terraced vineyards that stretch for miles as you cross the largest mountain terraced wine region in Europe. More than 1,500 miles of dry-stone walls demarcate the vineyards here in a unique configuration. Pedal alongside apple orchards and small farms and later pause for a picnic lunch with local cured beef, Casera and Bitto cheeses matured in the mountain huts.

Later, you arrive at the stunning shores of Lake Como and embark a ferry to Bellagio. As you cross these fabled waters, admire the picturesque villages hugging the water, lush green hills rising all around, and the unrivalled beauty of this dreamy corner of Italy. You settle in to your superbly located hotel in the center of Bellagio. Later, drink in the beauty of the lake during a festive farewell dinner on the shore.

Today’s Ride Choices

Morning: Tirano to Morbegno – 53 km (33 miles)
Afternoon: Morbegno to Colico – 22 km (14 miles)

What to Expect: Today’s ride follows the Adda River on a well paved and easy bike path.

Cumulative Distance Range: 53-75 km
Accommodation: Hotel Du Lac, Bellagio
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, say ciao to your trip leaders and spend the rest of the day discovering Bellagio, using the VBT city information as your guide. Perhaps walk to the nearby Villa Melzi d’Eril, an elegant lakeside manse with splendid gardens, explore the atmospheric village of Bellagio, marveling at its duomo and perusing its silk shops, or take a short hike to the picturesque hamlet of Pescallo, pausing in one of its welcoming trattorias. Throughout your stay, you are surrounded by postcard vistas.

Accommodation: Hotel Du Lac, Bellagio
Included Meals: Breakfast

After an included breakfast this morning, complimentary transportation to the Milan Malpensa airport will be provided (an approximately 1.25-hour drive, depending on traffic) for your departing flight.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Italy: Lake Como & the Italian Lake District 4

Download PDF Itinerary:

Air Package (PDF) Tour Only (PDF)

Fri, May 20 to Thu, May 26 - 2022

Show Itinerary:

Meet your fellow travelers and VBT trip leaders at 12:45 p.m. at the VBT hotel in Sirmione (address: Hotel Ideal, via Catullo 31, Sirmione; Tel: +39 030 9904245). To get there, you can take a train to Desenzano del Garda-Sirmione, on the Milan-Verona railway line. From there take a taxi or pre-arrange a shuttle with Enjoy Transfer (Tel: +39 393 64 64 393 at a fee of €55 for up to 8 persons with luggage). If you take a taxi, make sure you tell the driver that you want to get all the way to the Hotel Ideal in the historic city center (which implies an additional fee, or they will stop at the city gate).

At the hotel your trip leaders will be wearing VBT staff garments. Please plan to have lunch before meeting them in the hotel lobby. There are several cafés and restaurants in Sirmione, plus it is possible to have lunch at the Hotel Ideal restaurant. You can store your luggage at the reception desk and change into your biking clothes using the hotel facilities. Your trip leaders will hold a safety talk at the hotel for about 45 minutes. Afterwards you walk a short distance to board your private motorcoach. En route to Sulzano, scenically situated on Lake Iseo, you stop to enjoy a warm-up ride along quiet country roads that trace the tranquil marshes of the Sebino pit bogs. You ride into the medieval town of Iseo, then follow the lakeshore, taking advantage of a local bike path for part of the way.

If your 12:45 p.m. arrival is delayed, please contact Hotel Ideal in Sirmione to advise staff of the delay, and they will pass your message along to your VBT trip leaders. In the event of delays, also please see page 3 of “For Travel-Related Emergencies.” VBT highly recommends flying to Italy at least one day before the tour begins. This allows you to rest and recover from jet lag before you begin sightseeing and cycling.

In the afternoon, settle in your romantic lakeside hotel in the picturesque village of Sulzano. You might recognize the postcard-picture of Monte Isola within the lake, made famous in 2016 when artist Christo placed yellow floating piers to connect the island of Monte Isola and the private islet of San Paolo to the mainland. That summer, in only 16 days, 1,300,000 people walked these piers to discover this incredible place.

Tonight, enjoy a welcome cocktail reception on the hotel’s lakeside manicured terrace and get to know your fellow travelers. Then board a private ferry to Monte Isola to enjoy your welcome dinner in a very special and scenic location.

Today’s Ride Choice

Afternoon: Warm-up – 14 km (9 miles)

What to Expect: Today’s warm up-ride follows slightly undulated country roads to the small town of. Iseo. Your ride continues on flat terrain along Lake Iseo, partly on a bike path, to Sulzano and your hotel. The ride is easy and mostly paved.

Cumulative Distance Range: 14 km (9 miles)
Accommodation: Hotel Rivalago, Sulzano
Included Meals: Dinner

After breakfast, set off to explore the stunning shores of Lake Iseo by private boat and by bike. Also known as Sebino, the crystal-clear Lake Iseo is the fourth largest lake in Lombardy. Its shores are renowned for their lush mountains, medieval towns, and scenic roadways carved into the hillsides. A private boat whisks you to Monte Isola island in just five minutes. Despite its size, it is one of Italy’s official “most beautiful villages” and was ranked the third Best European Destination in 2019. Take time here to stroll its cobbled lanes and discovery its countless old-world charms. Then set off on a 6-mile loop around the entire island, before boarding your boat again. Journey across the lake to start riding along the dramatic western side. Our route includes a remarkably picturesque and thrilling stretch between Riva di Solto and Castro. Here, the road, carved out of the mountain, runs high up on a cliff, past a waterfall and through short tunnels. Soon you arrive in Lovere, regularly rated as one of the most beautiful villages of Italy. Take time here if you wish to visit its frescoed basilica church, imposing civic tower, and piazza.

Continue cycling to Pisogne where options for lunch on your own are numerous. Later between Toline and Vello, you ride along the sheer and rocky side of the mountain, with sweeping views of the lake below and the alpine vistas beyond. In the distance, marvel at the vistas of several spurs, including the massive wall of the Bogn di Castro cliff.

Tonight, relax and enjoy your hotel’s amenities before dining on the manicured terrace.

Today’s Ride Choices

Morning: Montisola Loop, Riva di Solto to Pisogne – 24.5 km (15 miles)
Afternoon: Pisogne to Sulzano – 16 km (10 miles)

What to Expect: Today’s ride, except for a 2-mile climb on Monte Isola, follows an easy, relaxing, and well-paved bike path along Lake Iseo.

Cumulative Distance Range: 24.5-40.5 km (15-25 miles)
Accommodation: Hotel Rivalago, Sulzano
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast, you head south into Franciacorta, affectionately known as the “Champagne” of Italy. This scenic region of rolling vineyards produces excellent sparkling wines from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, including Berlucchi and Ca’del Bosco. The traditions of sparkling wine go back several centuries, about a year before the monk Dom Perignon arrived in French Champagne in 1570!

You follow a partially protected cycleway this morning passing quiet monasteries and manicured vineyards. Around lunch time, stop at a small local family-run winery. This lovely farm, with its own vegetable garden, livestock, olive oil, and honey, was founded around 1600; the grape harvest is still carried out exclusively by hand to control and guarantee the quality. As our guide Francesca – who runs the farm with her brother Gianluca – leads us on a tour of the cantina, she explains their classic method of winemaking and why the farm only sells its wines here, on property.

Your tour ends just in time for lunch on the sunny terrace. As an apertivo, sample the house Brut and Saten; each has rested 24 months before being opened and served fresh for us. Then savor hand-made casoncelli, a stuffed pasta, prepared and seasoned by Francesca’s mother Daniela with farm-fresh ingredients. After, follow a different route back to the hotel, weaving though quaint hamlets and past wineries.

This evening, dinner is on your own. Stroll into Iseo, exploring its pedestrian-only cobbled streets and vaulted alleyways, browsing its welcoming shops, and finding an ideal spot for dinner on an intimate back street or on the elegant marina.

Today’s Ride Choices

Morning: Sulzano to Al Rocol – 36 km (22 miles)
Afternoon: Al Rocol to Sulzano – 21 km (13 miles)

What to Expect: Today’s ride is easy to moderate, following gently rolling hills mostly on country roads and bike paths. Your route is almost completely on paved terrain.

Cumulative Distance Range: 36 or 57 km (22 or 35 miles)
Accommodation: Hotel Rivalago, Sulzano
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast, leave Lake Iseo by private boat to Marone to enjoy your final ride on the eastern bank. From here start cycling along its shores. You soon coast into the green park of the Oglio River, a roaring river whose source is in the Alps. Follow its banks on a spectacularly scenic and varied path. You pedal through Valcamonica, the largest valley of the central Alps and once the only trade route to the Republic of Venice and the sea.

In prehistoric times, this region was inhabited by the Camuni, an ancient people conquered by Rome in the 1st century. As you ride, you come upon relics of this population, like the mysterious sanctuary of Minerva and the picturesque town of Cividate Camuno. The most impressive remains are the rock engravings carved from the Neolithic to the Iron Ages. In the shade of a natural reserve near Nadro, among chestnut, fir and beech, 500 are preserved, but the etchings number in the hundreds of thousands throughout the valley. In 1979, the rock drawings in Valcamonica were named the first UNESCO World Heritage site in Italy. You stop for a visit early this afternoon.

Later today, you travel via the Aprica mountain pass into the Valtellina valley. Your destination is the city of Tirano, nestled at the foot of the Bernina mountains and gateway to Switzerland. If you are familiar with the Giro d’Italia bicycle race, you might recognize the names of some of the peaks that surround you – Mortirolo, Gavia, Stelvio – all epic stages of the famous race with grades of up to 23 percent!

Settle in to the eco-friendly Curt di Clement and enjoy a welcome cocktail and short presentation of this historical house. Tonight, dine at a local traditional restaurant, savoring the specialties of Valtellina, including buckwheat noodles served with Casera cheese, and Bresaola, a dried cured meat.

Today’s Ride Choices

Morning: Marone to Cividate Camuno – 36 km (22 miles)
Afternoon: Cividate Camuno to Nadro – 13 km (8 miles)

What to Expect: Today’s route follows Lake Iseo’s eastern bank for several well-paved, flat miles. Then you’ll enter a valley and follow the Oglio Riverbanks, a stretch that is occasionally unpaved. Over the next few miles, you gain about 1,800 feet in altitude. You’ll ride in sunny areas, then forested and shaded stretches, crossing the roaring river several times. It’s never a dull ride today. The last 2 miles before the archaeological site are uphill. In the natural reserve at Nadro, you will walk about 2 miles. Please pack good walking shoes for the rocky terrain in the van.

Cumulative Distance Range: 36-49 km (22-30 miles)
Accommodation: Curt di Clement, Tirano
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

After a hearty breakfast, you leave Tirano on the famous Bernina Express train. This magnificent rail adventure crosses the border into Switzerland and climbs to the glistening Albula and Bernina glaciers. In total, the railway passes through 55 tunnels, crosses 196 bridges and ascends inclines of up to 7 percent. It is the highest railway crossing in all of Europe and in 2008 some segments of it were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site for its outstanding engineering prowess and for its early impact – it opened in 1904 – on the socioeconomics of the region. Sitting in dome-window panoramic cars, you marvel at sweeping alpine vistas en route to your next extraordinary cycling destination.

After a breathtaking journey, you alight at the highest point at Ospizio Bernina, on White Lake. Here at 2,309 meters at sea level you start an exhilarating ride losing some elevation till Pontresina. If you prefer, or if the weather is inclement, you can stay on the train for four more stops and get off in Pontresina. The Engadin region, a long alpine valley surrounded by soaring peaks offers spectacular views. From Pontresina, you cycle into the Roseg Valley, or walk along spectacular hiking trails. Your ride follows a gradual ascending, unpaved road free from car traffic; only the crackle of your tires on the gravel and the whir of horse sledges carrying passengers and goods to the lodge at the bottom of the valley break the silence. Your unbelievably scenic ride delivers you to the Roseggletscher Mountain Lodge*, nestled at 6,000 feet. From here you may continue on foot toward the glacier. Savor a well-earned lunch here as you soak in the splendor and tranquility of nature.

Back in Tirano, be sure to take time to stroll the alleys of the Old Town, admiring the medieval palaces and the city gates that are said to have been planned by Leonardo da Vinci in the 15th century. Visit the splendid Renaissance Basilica della Madonna di Tirano, where the Virgin Mary is believed to have appeared in 1504. There’ll be time, too, to shop in some of the many boutiques. Your trip leaders will have plenty of tantalizing suggestions for dinner on own.

*The Roseggletscher Mountain Lodge opens mid-June and is the only place that serves food in this valley. If the lodge isn’t open you will ride back to have lunch on your own at a different restaurant in Pontresina. Horse sledges do not operate until mid-June, so only biking is offered

Today’s Ride Choice

Morning: Ospizio Bernina to Pontresina – 15 km (9 miles) | Roseg Valley – 14 km (9 miles)

What to Expect: The optional ride, Ospizio Bernina to Pontresina, is a 15 km ride along the well paved, large, main road with some car traffic, especially from mid-June when high season begins. It is possible to skip this ride by getting off at the Pontresina train station. The Roseg Valley ride is on a well-worn, there-and-back unpaved path. It is a not to be missed ride. If you prefer, you can hike half of it (4.3 miles) and then come back by horse sledge at an additional cost. Plan to bring good hiking shoes. You can choose the slightly rolling and very scenic upper route, or the flat lower route along the Ova stream. The valley is gorgeous and popular with hikers, including families with kids.

Cumulative Distance Range: 15-29 km (9-18 miles)
Accommodation: Hotel Curt di Clement, Tirano
Included Meals: Breakfast

Today you follow a flat and relaxing route along the Adda River from Tirano to the shores of Lake Como. You ride on the well-marked Adda River cycle path, traversing the Rhaetian and Orobic Alps south of the Swiss Canton of Grabuenden. This is a beloved paradise for bikers of any ability and it has a long cycling tradition: The cycle tourist’s guide of Valtellina, which describes more than 40 itineraries in this region of outstanding beauty, was first edited by the Italian Touring Club in 1906!

As you ride, marvel at castles and churches perched high up on the slopes. Pedal past terraced vineyards that stretch for miles as you cross the largest mountain terraced wine region in Europe. More than 1,500 miles of dry-stone walls demarcate the vineyards here in a unique configuration. Pedal alongside apple orchards and small farms and later pause for a picnic lunch with local cured beef, Casera and Bitto cheeses matured in the mountain huts.

Later, you arrive at the stunning shores of Lake Como and embark a ferry to Bellagio. As you cross these fabled waters, admire the picturesque villages hugging the water, lush green hills rising all around, and the unrivalled beauty of this dreamy corner of Italy. You settle in to your superbly located hotel in the center of Bellagio. Later, drink in the beauty of the lake during a festive farewell dinner on the shore.

Today’s Ride Choices

Morning: Tirano to Morbegno – 53 km (33 miles)
Afternoon: Morbegno to Colico – 22 km (14 miles)

What to Expect: Today’s ride follows the Adda River on a well paved and easy bike path.

Cumulative Distance Range: 53-75 km
Accommodation: Hotel Du Lac, Bellagio
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Your tour ends after breakfast. You can travel to the town of Como by ferry or hydrofoil, where a train can take you to Milan or other destinations. Or ferry to Varenna (15 minutes) and board a train to Milan’s central railway station and Malpensa airport.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Italy: Lake Como & the Italian Lake District 4

Download PDF Itinerary:

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Accommodations

Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With Low-Cost Trip Extensions

Airplane

Air Package Only

2022

2022 Pre-Trip Extension - Sirmione

2 Nights From $295 per person, double occupancy
Single Supplement: From $95

  • 2 nights at the Hotel Ideal
  • Airport car service for arrival
  • Daily breakfast
  • City information

All you have to do is get to the airport. On our Air Packages, we’ll take care of the rest, handling all the logistics, so you can travel with peace of mind. Spend your first night aloft and arrive refreshed for an unforgettable trip.

A VBT representative will greet you at the Verona airport to start your adventure off right. A complimentary car service will whisk you to your centrally located hotel in Sirmione. From here, you are perfectly positioned to explore this charming city at your leisure.

Accommodation: Hotel Ideal, Sirmione

After a delicious included breakfast at your hotel, you are free to explore on your own, using our included city information packet to guide your discoveries.

Accommodation: Hotel Ideals, Sirmione
Included Meals: Breakfast

After a delicious included breakfast at your hotel, you are free to explore on your own, using our included city information packet to guide your discoveries.

Accommodation: Hotel Ideals, Sirmione
Included Meals: Breakfast

Airplane

Air Package Only

2022

2022 Post-Trip Extension - Bellagio

2 Nights From $345 per person, double occupancy
Single Supplement: From $95

  • 2 nights at the Hotel Du Lac
  • Airport car service for departure
  • Daily breakfast
  • City information

After a delicious included breakfast at your hotel, you are free to continue exploring on your own. A popular visit for cyclists is Museo del Ghisallo, the cycling museum, full of memorabilia and documents, set high on the promontory of Bellagio about 10 km from the city https://www.museodelghisallo.it/en/. Use our included city information packet to guide your discoveries.

Accommodation: Hotel Du Lac, Bellagio
Included Meals: Breakfast

After a delicious included breakfast at your hotel, you are free to continue exploring on your own, using our included city information packet to guide your discoveries.

Accommodation: Hotel Du Lac, Bellagio
Included Meals: Breakfast

After an included breakfast this morning, complimentary transportation to the Milan Malpensa airport will be provided (an approximately 1.25 hour drive, depending on traffic) for your departing flight.

Included Meals: Breakfast

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Dates & Prices

Air Package

10 days, includes round-trip international airfare , airport shuttle, and additional hotel nights with included breakfast.

Single Supplement: From $295

Departing From New York, NY (JFK)

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7 Days. Includes bike vacation only.

Single Supplement: From $245

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