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Cycling the Italian and Swiss Lakes

Cycling the Italian and Swiss Lakes

01606 720199

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  • Holiday type
    Guided cycling
  • Duration
    7 nights
  • Accommodation
    hotel-to-hotel
  • Activity level
  • Call usfor dates and prices
  • Departures
    Selected Sundays from 1 Jan '70 to 1 Jan '70
  • What's Included?
  • All breakfast, 2 lunches and 1 dinner included
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Local bike hire
  • Key Information
  • This holiday is operated by our sister company, Exodus
  • 7 nights hotels all en suite
  • 5 days cycling with baggage transfers and full vehicle support
  • Group normally 6 to 16, plus leaders. Min age 16 years
  • 95% tarmac roads with some climbs

Italy / Switzerland: Piedmont

Cycling the Italian and Swiss Lakes

  • Operated by our sister company, Exodus
  • Cycle around four lakes in two countries
  • Enjoy an incredibly varied local gastronomy
  • Visit Como and Villa del Balbianello

The Italian lakes of Como and Maggiore are famed for both their spectacular scenery and their well-heeled residents. The rich and famous clearly have good taste as the scenery here is simply wonderful with forested hills and medieval properties overlooking the glistening blue waters. This is a fascinating place to discover on two wheels with excellent roads that closely follow the winding shores. Amongst others, we visit the Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso, a striking overhanging abbey built by a rich merchant. The Villa del Balbianello with its ornate Italian gardens may look familiar to film buffs, having featured in international movies such as Bond’s Casino Royale and Star Wars: Attack of the clones. There will be opportunities to taste plenty of delicious local produce en route, including cheese, cold meats, honey, wines and ice cream, before riding across the border to Lugano in Switzerland for a chocolate tasting. The excellent cycle rides will hopefully help you build up an appetite!



We're here to help

If you have any questions about this holiday call our sales team on 01606 720199, use our live webchat (we're open until 5pm today) or email sales@headwater.com

Typical holiday itinerary



We're here to help

If you've any questions about this holiday call our sales team on 01606 720199 (9am - 5pm), or email sales@headwater.com

Day 1: Start Armeno

Our trip starts in Armeno, a small villageon the eastern hills of Lake Orta. Optional stroll through the alleys of Orta San Giulio, a stunning town listed among the 'Most beautiful towns of Italy'. Our accommodation on the first night is in a green park near Lake Orta, at the foot of Mount Mottarone. It is part of a complex who also organise spiritual retreats, making it a relaxing place to start the trip.

Day 2: Ride south to Lake Maggiore through Lagoni di Mercurago Natural Park, Grappa tasting.

On our way to Lake Maggiore we ride south along Lake Orta through the amazing Lagoni di Mercurago Natural Park; home to a huge variety of different environments, from swamps to pastures, horses stables to archaeological sites. We continue to the medieval town of Angera, where, as a perfect ending we taste Grappa; one of the most renowned Italian spirits from a local and historical distillery. In Angera, where we overnight, there will be the opportunity to swim and relax on the lake beaches.

Day 3: Cycle along Lake Maggiore to Porto Valtravaglia through Santa Caterina del Sasso Hermitage, cheese tasting.

Cycling along the shores of Lake Maggiore we make our way to the Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso; directly overlooking the water it is one most charming sights of the lake. We take some time to visit this incredible abbey and then we stop in a traditional “locanda” (cosy typical restaurant) to enjoy a tasting of local cheese, cold meats and honey. After the tasting we continue through the picturesque village of Laveno to Porto Valtravaglia, where we spend the next two nights. When the weather allows there will be time to explore the local beaches.

Day 4: Free day to relax on Lake Maggiore, or take a ferry to the famous Borromeo Islands. 

On this leisurely day you have some time to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of Lake Maggiore or to take a ferry to the famous Borromeo Islands. The archipelago is formed by four Islands. The main one is the monumental Isola Bella, with its 17th-Century Palazzo Borromeo, surrounded by flam boiled gardens. Then we have the picturesque Isola dei Pescatori (Fishermen’s Island), Isola Madre, noted for its botanical garden, the little Island of San Giovanni, and the Rock of Marghera. 

Day 5: Cycle to Lugano, enjoy a chocolate tasting in a historic cafe` and visit the town of Menaggio.

Today is quite exciting as we cycle into the second country of our trip: Switzerland. We will reach the enchanting city of Lugano, lied down on the shore of iconic Lake Lugano. We take some time to stroll and explore the city independently and after our lunch at leisure we will get the chance to enjoy a delicious chocolate tasting at the historical Caffé Vanini, situated in a picturesque square in the city centre. The day ends in the charming town of Menaggio, on the shores of Lake Como, where we will stay for the next three nights.

Day 6: Ride to Balbianello Villa, visit to a traditional gelateria and gelato tasting.

On today's ride we head to the beautiful Villa del Balbianello, riding south along Lake Como. Built for a prominent Italian family during the 19th century it has been recently chosen as setting of international movies such as 007: Casino Royale and Star Wars. After lunch, on our way to the city of Como we enjoy a relaxing break at a traditional gelateria, to try to learn the secrets of real Italian gelato. In Como you will have time to discover the city's main sights, such as the remarkable Renaissance Cathedral, at your own pace, before returning to Menaggio by ferry boat.

Day 7: Circular ride to Colico, wine tasting.

Today we take a final circular ride around the Northern side of Lake Como to Colico. En route we stop at a local wine cellar to taste some of the excellent wines of the area and to enjoy a light lunch with local products. Once at Colico, you can visit the Cistercian Santa Maria di Piona Abbey, masterpiece of the Lombard architecture. Built in the 12th century, it represents the first source attesting a monastic community present in the territory. After the visit we return to Menaggio by ferry, another great chance to admire the beautiful views that the lake is offering.

Day 8: End Menaggio.

Our trip ends in Menaggio.

Where you stay

During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking.

To find out more call our sales team on 01606 720199, use our live webchat (we're open until 5pm today) or email sales@headwater.com

Hotels

You will spend 7 nights in 2 and 3 star hotels. All hotels have been carefully selected for their welcoming atmosphere, location and services offered. All rooms provided are en suite.

We can arrange single rooms throughout the trip (subject to availability). Please check with your sales consultant for availability and prices.


Meals

All breakfast, 2 lunches and 1 dinner included

All breakfasts are Continental in style, consisting of coffee or tea, bread, jam and/or honey.

 

For lunch and dinner, when not included, our leader will be on hand to recommend his favourite restaurants based on your budget and preferences. The standard of food and drink throughout the tour is extremely high and the Chocolate Museum visit in Switzerland will be an added value to the experience. 

The cuisine of that lakes region encompasses traditional recipes with new ingredients where the main characteristic is the usage of local products. Typical dishes are: minestrone, fish and polenta, risotto, roasted meats (rabbit, kid), stewed, polenta with Bologna sausage or braised meat and many other delicious proposals.

Travel

Our aim is to provide holidays that are unbeatable for choice and flexibility. We've listed our most popular travel options below, however you aren't limited to these - we can tailor-make virtually any holiday to suit.

To find out more about the travel options available call our sales team on 01606 720199, use our live webchat (we're open until 5pm today) or email sales@headwater.com

Transfers

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights.

Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Headwater has booked it.

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight ‐ please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

Transportation

Transfers to and from the airport will be by private vehicle (normally minibus). The support vehicle will carry all your luggage and personal belongings. The vehicle will follow the riders all of the time, allowing you to cycle as much or as little as you like.

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 8 days

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of Easyjet (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings.

Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 8 days starting in Armeno and ending in Menaggio

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Armeno in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Reviews

Here at Headwater we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can continue to develop, and where necessary improve, our services and ensure our holidays continue to be the best they can be. As this is a relatively new holiday, we don't yet have any customer reviews available from our customers, but here are the comments that have been received from previous Exodus travellers.

One of the most beautiful bike trips with amazing scenery, food, and guides . Everyday we were riding by one of the lakes, always with spectacular views! The bikes were fabulous, perfect for the terrain. There were a few short, sweet hills. But there was always van support if needed. Loved the guides Sara and Francesco. They were knowledgeable about biking and the area (and delicious restaurants), kept us safe, well fed , were helpful with requests ,were very thoughtful and kept the group laughing! So many extras included, such as the wine tasting with an amazing lunch,another amazing lunch, the gelato tasting, the chocolate tasting in Lugano, the tour of the Villa Balbianello and gardens with our own private guide.

The scenery on this cycling tour was very picturesque with the riding often along cycle paths or roads beside a lake. There was the occasional hill but they were short. There was 1 day of rainy weather and the rest of the week was a mix of sunshine and clouds with thunderstorms at night on occasion. The food was excellent! The hotels were basic but clean and in good locations; the final hotel in Menaggio had a beautiful view of Lake Como and was staffed by friendly and helpful staff. The hybrid bikes were well-maintained. Sara and Francesco had refreshing snacks during rest stops on cycling days.

Lakes beautiful

The lakes together with the historic villas and gardens are truly stunning so this is a very worthwhile trip. Fairly straightforward for a moderate grading although the optional first day hill climb took us all by surprise! The hotels are quite basic and we didn’t get a double bed at any point despite requesting it at the booking stage. Sara the leader and Alessandro our back up with the van, were both brilliant throughout - keeping a very mixed ability group safe and happy. Their enthusiasm was infectious even when we were all drenched on day 2. The tour of Lugano would have been far better with Sara or Alessandro than a paid guide who didn’t really tell us much and kept us waiting for lunch until 2.30 by which time we were all starving and completely missed out the chocolate tasting :-(. While the lady at Villa del Balbianello was probably the best local guide I’ve come across. Fab trip in all which could be improved with a few tweaks and some better accommodation. I felt we didn’t get the best Italian food until later in the week - a downside of eating out with a large group.

Excellent new trip, up to Exodus usual high standards. Fantastic guides, easily amongst the best in my four cycling holidays (just one other trip with Exodus).

This trip was in celebration of our 20th wedding anniversary and suffice it to say, it was a wonderful holiday. Gorgeous scenery, great food, lovely wines, great camaraderie, excellent guides.

Having now completed nine trips with Exodus this has been one of the best, and of the European trips it is the best. Beautiful scenery, enchanting towns and villages, wonderful food and lots of Gelato.

Absolutely great group - I knew some from an Exodus trip to Puglia 2 yrs ago, led by fun and engaging leaders, in a lovely part of the world. Some quibbles about the route, but overall a great time. Thank you Exodus!

Smaller towns of northern Italy with wonderful people.

A really enjoyable trip to a beautiful part of Italy. Our excellent leaders Franchesco and Sara made a huge contribution to our enjoyment.

Dates and prices

You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday.

This 7 night guided cycling holiday includes:

All breakfast, 2 lunches and 1 dinner included

All accommodation (see below)

All transport and listed activities

Tour leader throughout

Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

Local bike hire


How to book:

For further details, or to check availability, speak to our sales team on 01606 720199 (we're open until 5pm today) or complete our holiday enquiry form (we'll contact you at a time that's most convenient for you).

Complete our holiday enquiry form - we'll get in touch when it's most convenient for you
Speak to our sales team on 01606 720199 - we're open until 5pm today
Use our live chat to ask us a question

Please call for prices

We do not currently have departure dates and prices available on-line. The season may have ended for this tour, or we are still in the process of adding these details to our website. Please contact us for further details.

Key information

This holiday is operated by our sister company, Exodus

7 nights hotels all en suite

5 days cycling with baggage transfers and full vehicle support

Group normally 6 to 16, plus leaders. Min age 16 years

95% tarmac roads with some climbs

Transfers

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights.

Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Headwater has booked it.

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight ‐ please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

Transportation

Transfers to and from the airport will be by private vehicle (normally minibus). The support vehicle will carry all your luggage and personal belongings. The vehicle will follow the riders all of the time, allowing you to cycle as much or as little as you like.

Joining instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 8 days

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of Easyjet (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings.

Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 8 days starting in Armeno and ending in Menaggio

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Armeno in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.



Due to the tailor-made nature of our holidays, we need a little more information in order for us to check availability for Cycling the Italian and Swiss Lakes. Simply complete the form below (fields marked * are mandatory) and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and an accurate price. Of course there's no obligation, but if you do wish to proceed with a booking they will be on-hand to assist you throughout the process.

Alternatively, you can call our sales team on 01606 720199 to discuss your requirements in more detail (we're open until 5pm today) or contact us via live chat for help and advice.

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