The Italian Lakes: Como & Garda

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Traveller ratings
4.7 / 5 from 7 reviews >
Leisurely
Learn more
Trip code: 
TDI
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Walking & Trekking Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

Enjoy gentle lakeside walks and visit ancient Verona

Follow in the footsteps of celebrated authors such as D.H Lawrence and discover the most famous of the stunning Italian lakes. Starting on majestic Lake Garda, the largest in Italy, we take in the rich landscape studded with villages and small towns and enjoy a day trip to ancient Verona, the setting for Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet". We then move on to Lake Como, long favoured as an aristocratic summer retreat, it is surrounded by mountains and with banks full of forested slopes, as well as striking estates with magnificent gardens, which are a pleasure to explore on leisurely walks.

Highlights

  • Discover charming Bellagio
  • Visit ancient city of Verona
  • Olive farm visit and oil tasting
  • Gentle lakeside walks

Key information

  • 7 nights in 2 and 3-star hotels 
  • 8 days land only/ flight inclusive
  • 6 days walking and sightseeing
  • Altitude maximum 700m, average 100m

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 1 lunch and 2 dinners included
  • All accommodation (see accommodation section)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

 

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request) 
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

6

Pace:

Moderate: 2-3 kms per hour

Terrain:

Low altitude; even paths with few ascents and descents

Day by day breakdown
Day 214.0km/8.7miles
Day 35.0km/3.1miles
Day 46.0km/3.7miles
Day 53.0km/1.9miles
Day 69.0km/5.6miles
Day 79.0km/5.6miles

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Porto di Brenzone
to
Lecco
  • Day 1

    Start Porto di Brenzone, Lake Garda.

    Start Porto di Brenzone, Lake Garda. Check-in at your hotel, welcome drink and evening briefing with your leader.

  • Day 2

    Gentle walks taking in villages on the slopes of Monte Baldo to Malcesine; Scaglier Castle visit.

    This morning we walk a section of the Nordic Walking Park that covers some of the most charming small villages on the slopes of Monte Baldo. In the afternoon we stroll along the lakeside to reach the village of Malcesine and visit the Scaligero Castle, first built by the Longobards back between the 5th and 6th century. A symbol of Malcesine and Lake Garda with its strategic position overlooking the waterfront .

    For spectacular views over Lake Garda you can opt for a ride on the Malcesine cablecar, which reaches an altitude of 1760 m at the top of Monte Baldo. On a clear day you can see the whole of the lake, from Riva to Peschiera del Garda: a breathtaking panorama (entrance payable locally). (3h walking, 14km)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Walking tour to explore UNESCO heritage site Verona.

    After breakfast we take the public bus to Verona and enjoy a walking tour of the medieval city celebrated in Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet'. Take in views of the Roman Arena, the best preserved in Italy, and the colorful Piazza delle Erbe among the city's many historical sites. In the afternoon meet an expert on ancient prints who will explains the history of Verona through various rare prints and the engraving techniques once used to create books and prints. Return to Brenzone by public bus. (2h walking, 5km)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Ferry to western lakeside; walk to St Valentine's hermitage and Villa Igea. Afternoon olive farm visit and oil tasting.

    Transfer by ferry to the western side of the lake to Gargnano, where we walk the 'Lawrence Walk', which takes us past the Villa Igea, where D.H. Lawrence lived. We then transfer to the picturesque town of Limone, renowned for its dramatic setting and fragrant lemon groves. After lunch on our way back to Brenzone we stop to visit an olive oil producer. Walking among olive trees hundreds of years old, we get a chance to learn about the production of the oil and taste the delicate variety made along the shores of lake Garda. Our last night at lake Garda will be celebrated with a special dinner in a traditional restaurant. (2h walking, 6km)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 5

    Transfer to Lecco, our base on Lake Como. Visit Bellagio, the 'Pearl of Lake Como'.

    After breakfast we check out of our hotel and transfer to Lecco. Located on Lake Como, the town inspired Alessandro Manzoni his famous novel, "The Betrothed". We have some time to discover the city centre, before taking a ferry to Bellagio, the 'Pearl of Lake Como'. This lovely town is located at the top of the triangular peninsula that divides lower Lake Como into two parts. The afternoon is free to wander through this attractive resort town. In the evening, we head back to our hotel in Lecco by ferry. (1h walking, 3km)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    From Ossuccio walk to baroque Sanctuary of S. Maria del Soccorso. Visit 18th century Villa del Balbianello.

    From Lecco we cross the lake and visit Ossuccio, with its historical centre and famous bell tower. There we walk to the Baroque Sanctuary of Santa Maria del Soccorso and enjoy a picnic lunch en route. After lunch we continue to Villa del Balbianello, built at the end of the 18th Century for the Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini. The views of the lake and surrounding hills from the villa are magnificent. (2.5h walking, 9km)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Enjoy a stroll on the 'Lover's Walk' from Varenna to Olivedo and visit 11th century Vezio Castle.

    After breakfast we head to Varenna by ferry, on lake Como. The town, gracefully perched on the mountain, is one of the most panoramic spots of the lake. Before lunch, we explore the village and walk along the lake through the 'Lover’s Walk' connecting Varenna to Olivedo. In the afternoon we walk up to the ruins of the 11th Century Vezio Castle, that dominates the town, to the source of the Fiumelatte river, said to be the shortest river in the world. An optional visit to the scenic gardens of the lakeside Villa Monastero may be posible. W return to Lecco by ferry for our farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (2.5h walking, 9km)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 8

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Italy

No visa required for British passport holders.
Please note in Italy it is compulsory to carry ID with you at all times.

Vaccinations

Italy

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 1 lunch and 2 dinners included.
Breakfasts in Italy are usually continental style and include pastries, yogurt and cereal.
The cuisine of that Italian lakes region is a real treat for travellers. On Lake Garda visitors can expect to taste some wonderful freshwater fish and polenta-based dishes, as well as excellent local Bardolino wine. Staples on Lake Como also include fish and polenta, and are complemented by hearty mountain fare including cheeses such as taleggio, smoked meats and 'pizzocccheri' buckwheat pasta.

Weather

The Italian lake regions are renowned for having a mild climate. April and May departures can expect warm days and although rain is possible, it seldom lasts long. Nights may still be rather cool. We strongly recommend a fleece-lined jacket or warm sweater in these months. June see the area warm up for the start of summer, although you may still need a light jacket in the evenings. July and August can become quite hot by mid afternoon. Although rain is unusual, torrential cloudbursts are not unknown. September and October are cooler and wetter, yet visibility is often better.

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 1 (Leisurely)
The walking is fairly easy, with 6 days leisurely walking and sightseeing. Many of the walks will be along the lakeside and the terrain and type of path will vary from manmade paved tracks, tarmac to gravel. The walks are not technically difficult although some small ascents and descents should be expected.
This is a relaxing break with the chance to enjoy stunning walks, impressive historical sites, excellent food and beautiful scenery.
All walks are optional.
You may find our Fitness Training Guide a useful reference: http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/pdf/Exodus_WT_Fitness_Training_Guide.pdf

Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

2-star hotel on Lake Garda, 3-star hotel on Lake Como

We spend 4 nights in a comfortable 2-star hotel in Porto di Brenzone, usually Hotel Sorriso. The family-run hotel is located on the lakefront near the centre of Brenzone and offers magnificent views from its terrace and is locally renown for its delicious cuisine. Our last 3 nights are spent at a 3-star hotel in Lecco, Lake Como, usually the Hotel Lungolago. The recently renovated property overlooking the lake features wifi throughout and modern décor. All rooms en suite.

A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement. Please ask our Sales team for more details.

Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed September 2017
    Michael Fogg

    Italian Lakes: Como and Garda

    A very enjoyable week, in a beautiful location, with an interesting and varied itinerary, good accommodation, with excellent meals and friendly staff. Laura, our guide, was charming and efficient, ensuring that our entire visit ran smoothly, without a single hitch. Would have no hesitation in recommending this destination.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were several memorable moments, but having grown up in Stratford on Avon, possibly the visit to Verona, a beautiful city, which our excellent local guide said owes a lot of its fame to Shakespeare, as author of, Romeo and Juliet and Two Gentlemen of Verona.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Laura, was outstanding. Always. charming calm and efficient, whilst ensuring that our entire visit ran smoothly, without a single hitch.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Difficult to think of anything which would have improved our experience.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Pam & Boyd Taylor

    The Italian Lakes Como & Garda

    The trip is graded as leisurely and it certainly is with the walks being very easy in the main. There were a few short but steep ascents and descents but if you are not used to walking simply take your time. The main towns visited were quite busy with many tourists but when venturing into the narrow streets they were soon left behind. The range of eateries was very good with high quality food. If you like ice cream this is for you! The scenery is spectacular being surrounded by high mountain peaks, but disappointingly there was not much wildlife to be seen. The historical sights provided interesting visits.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We particularly enjoyed the Malcesine Cable car ride to the mountain tops as the views were spectacular and we were pleasantly surprised when a visiting Italian Male Voice Choir suddenly burst into song entertaining everybody whilst waiting in the queue. Being avid fell walkers we liked the steep uphill walk to Vezio Castle on the last full day of the trip, and the views from the top were amazing. The path down was beautiful with many wild flowers. The visit to Verona was excellent as it is a wonderful old historical town with many interesting buildings and views.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader Laura was delightful and always eager to please. She made us all feel very welcome and relaxed.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take Insect Repellent as some members of our party were frequently bitten by mosquitoes. For footwear good walking sandals and/or trainers are needed for some of the walks.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We decided to travel before the group and visit Milan independently for a couple of days on our own before meeting them at the airport. This was a mistake as Milan turned out to be very disappointing as the only thing really worth seeing is the cathedral and the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition so one day is enough. However if you like designer shopping then you would love it!
  • Reviewed September 2017
    jayne fogg

    The Beautiful Italian Lakes

    Everything about this holiday was perfect The stunning landscape that surrounded us on Lake Garda and Lake Como meant that you could point your camera in any direction, and get an amazing photo! The 5 walks were all very different and thoroughly enjoyable in the good company of our fellow travellers , and allowed us to get a very thorough experience of the wide area. The excursion to Verona was extremely interesting. Travelling several times on the Lakes' boat services was a wonderful relaxed and pleasurable way to view the amazing landscape. Each village or town that we visited had its own charm, and walking the winding paths and steps in the countryside was delightful. Hotels were comfortable and welcoming. Our guide LAURA was wonderful. So friendly, caring and helpful in every way, she was also efficient, helpful, knowledgeable of area, routes and travel arrangements. She made a great holiday even more memorable. We would recommend this trip to everyone.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The stunning view far below us when we climbed up to a high-up church overlooking Lake Como, and enjoying a packed lunch there. The trips on the ferry boats on both Lakes, particularly the 90 minute one that gave us stunning views whichever way we looked.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide LAURA was wonderful. So friendly, caring and helpful in every way, she was also efficient, helpful, knowledgeable of area, routes and travel arrangements. She made a great holiday even more memorable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The two walks that took us to the high-up church, and to the castle were possibly a little more demanding than is reflected by the 'Category 1' grading of this trip. Having said that, we enjoyed both VERY much for the stunning views we enjoyed.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Sue Johnstone

    The Italian Lakes

    We have just got back from a fantastic trip to Lakes Como and Garda. It's a beautiful area to visit, made even better by our brilliant guide, Laura. She was extremely knowledgeable about the area and brought the sites to life for us. Even better than that, she gave us an insight into Italian life and culture. A highly recommended trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    One of many highlights was a visit to a family run olive oil producer. The oil and caper production process was explained and we saw the caper plants and olive trees. We had the opportunity to taste the olive oil, olives, olive paste and capers and the visit ended with a browse around the shop.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Laura was an outstanding leader; knowledgeable, patient and engaging. She was greeted warmly everywhere and she made sure that we had great service at all the local restaurants and during the various tours. Nothing was too much trouble for her.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You will need a good pair of walking shoes as some of the paths on our walks were more rugged than we expected.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A highly recommended trip !
  • Reviewed June 2017
    Sue Cameron

    one of the most enjoyable trips I have ever experienced

    I had never visited this area of Italy before and I finally understood why so many people come to the Lakes over and over again; both Garda and Como were stunningly beautiful. However, many things lifted the trip - an amazing group leader (Laura), one of the most enjoyable groups I've ever travelled with, and excellent accommodation, food and wine. I could not have experienced a better introduction to the area.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the sun rise and set over Lake Garda Swimming in Lake Garda Having wine at a terrace by the river in Verona Prosecco at a lakeside bar in Lecco after dinner with the group Al fresco dining with the group by Lake Garda, Lake Como and in Lecco The views of the lakes on our walks Visit to olive oil factory in Gargano

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Laura was an outstanding group leader - organised, steeped in local knowledge and culture, attentive to the needs of both the group and individuals and always fun and interesting to talk to. I would welcome the chance to go on any other trip that Laura leads because I know it will have her special attention to detail and suggestions for interesting activities - learning to make Aperol Spritz, final dinner at a local boating club in Lecco, lunch at a fancy restaurant overlooking Lake Como. Laura's special touches were always appreciated by the group and we all thought she was wonderful!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    it's a busy itinerary so be prepared for it seeming less leisurely than it might appear due to that. Also bring a sunhat - when the sun is out, it's very strong - and be prepared for that to make the walks feel more strenuous than their length appears. Also be prepared for the meals not to be included (aside from breakfast) - this occasionally surprises some Exodus travellers as other trips often do include nearly all meals.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    the only thing the group agreed about in regard to the trip that needed to be looked at was that we packed so many things in that the days often didn't have any downtime - but as it was a new trip, we thought this would get worked out and we all LOVED all the activities. Otherwise - I really can't recommend this trip enough if you want a mix of leisurely walking, great food and wine, gorgeous scenery and interesting history and nature.
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Lynette Carr

    Lake Garda & Como

    Thoroughly enjoyed the holiday and the guide Laura went above and beyond to make the trip a success, especially when faced with challenges from the weather and transport. Her whole management of the trip was exceptional - caring, engaging and entertaining. What a lovely girl - Exodus is fortunate to have her working with them. There was a good balance of planned activities, however, over-use of public transport did impact somewhat on enjoyment - it's great to experience local transport, however, it really took up too much time on planned trips and cut down on the amount of time we could spend at venues.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Mainly the friendships struck up in the group and coming to appreciate the warm welcome offered by the Italian hosts. A fantastic get-together on our last night on Lake Garda with local entertainment giving us a lasting memory of these lovely hotel owners.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Absolutely faultless. A wonderful girl with a lovely sense of humour who dedicated every waking hour to looking after us and making sure we got the most from our trip in spite of the rain.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go for it! Learn even a tiny bit of Italian, it does help!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Please look again at the transport - I will certainly look at travelling with Exodus again but will look more carefully at the itinerary next time
  • Reviewed July 2016
    Kathleen Macey

    Italian Lakes

    A good split of 4 nights on Lake Garda at the comfortable and friendly Hotel Sorriso, just a few yards from the lake promenade and 3 nights at the Lungalago Hotel on Lake Como, a busier more cosmopolitan town resort. The part of Lake Garda where we stayed appeared more serene and gentle with pretty lakeside paths, family campsites, swimming areas and easy access by local buses and ferries to other parts. Hospitable pizzerias, bars and of course, gelato, gelato and more gelato. Enjoyable walks to Malcesine and cultural visit to Verona. Lecco, on Lake Como is seemed far removed from the major honey pots of Bellagio and Como so trains or buses are required to reach these areas which can be problematic when strikes prevail. The town itself was busy as schools had finished for the summer, lots of cafes and designer shops to tempt.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I wouldn't say inspirational but fun.......making pizza at The Sorriso. Pizza Hut - watch out!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Laura - a true professional, caring, considerate, a lovely demeanour and fun to be with.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Whilst the programme is leisurely there are a couple of walks up to small chapels and castles high above the lakes but take your time the views are worth it. As Laura reminds us: P for patience - the Italians don't hurry! Prepare to put on weight.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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Call us on 0208 772 3936