2023 September 16 to 23
Prices listed are per person:
Shared Room: $5098
Private Room: $6598
New tour for 2022. No testimonials at this time.
Explore The Val di Mello Valey, known by Italian climbers and hikers as “The Yosemite of Italy”
Cruise Lake Como on our private boat
Cycle our way around on an E-bike
Relax in supercharged mineral water at Pelegrino Spa, known for its curative powers
Tour some of Milan’s most amazing historical architecture
Board a cable car to our hiking spot beneath Mount Resegone
Dine on the water’s edge and enjoy the spectacular views
View gorgeous panoramic scenery
Lake Como in Northern Italy is world-renowned for its spectacular vistas, exclusive villas, and surrounding mountains. These areas will be our playground for this fun-filled adventure and cultural tour. Hiking, mountain biking (electric assisted), private lake cruise, and a visit to the world-class Pellegrino spa will satisfy our sense of adventure as we wine and dine our way through this most scenic region of Italy. Our journey starts off with a private guided tour of the historical and iconic sites of Milan including a visit to Leonardo Da¨Vinci’s Last Supper and the spectacular gothic Duomo Cathedral. We then drive to the southern shore of Lake Como for three nights at a wonderful agriturismo-style boutique hotel with homegrown products nestled among the mountains on the southern part of the lake near Lecco. Then we’re off to the idyllic village of Colico in the northern end of Lake Como for three nights in our boutique hotel with a world-class restaurant looking out over the lake with breathtaking views.
This is a customized tour developed by our tour directors, Ron and Walter who have led our biking and hiking tours in Tuscany for the past 20 years. We welcome travelers from the past and new folks who wish to enjoy some easy to moderate hiking and e-biking combined with relaxing days on the lake by private boat excursion and trips to world-class thermal spas.
Every day we offer fun-packed activities with personalized attention to the interests of our clients. We promise to offer fine dining with local wine in beautiful off the beaten path settings. Come discover why some of the rich and famous (George Clooney for example) have also adopted this magnificent area for their lakeside villas and adventure playground!
Day 1: Arrival – Milano Welcome Dinner and Evening Stroll
Welcome to Milano! Recognized as the fashion capital of Italy (and Lombardy). It is home to some of the greatest collections of art and historical architecture. This includes major works of Leonardo da Vinci, the Porta Nuova, Sforza Castle, the Opera house, La Scala, and the spectacular gothic Milano Cathedral to name a few. Milano has an extraordinary history dating back to 600 BC. Including the Celtic Insubres, which were later conquered by the Romans to become the capital of the Western Roman Empire.
For those of you arriving early, there are countless museums, art exhibits, and historical monuments to explore. This evening we will meet in the lobby of our hotel for a reception and orientation. Tonight we will dine at one of our favorite restaurants located nearby with wine and a superb selection of Italiano cuisine.
After dinner, we will take a stroll through part of the historical area to give you a glimpse of some of the sites to see on tomorrow´s tour.
Day 2: Milano City Walking Tour and Lake Como
This morning we will tour some of the architectural and historical icons of Milano. Our private tour with a local scholar will take us through the Convent of Santa Maria Delle Grazie. Here we will find Leonardo de Vinci’s world-famous mural of The Last Supper created from 1495-1498. We will also tour the historic area including the Milano Cathedral and other unique sites.
In the afternoon, we will head to our mountain chalet-style agriturismo accommodation near Lecco on the southern shores of Lake Como. An hour and a half drive will bring us to a beautifully restored 1800’s farmhouse exclusive for our group complete with a fabulous on-site restaurant. Here we are surrounded by the mountains with trails leading out our back door. Decompress from the city and relax on the terrace or take a short guided hike around the historical site of a riverside farming community.
Dinner will be served in our charming dining room with local wines and cuisine enhanced with products from the farm.
Day 3: Hiking and Spa Day
Our extraordinary day will start with a hardy Italian breakfast followed by a ride to the Funivia Paini d’Erna, a cable car landing above the town of Lecco.
A piani in Italian is like a plateau (not to be confused with a panini), and the Piani de Erna sits at an elevation of 4500 feet above sea level. Enjoy the spectacular ride to our hiking area in sprawling meadows and unspoiled forest, beneath the peaks of Mount Resegone. From the plateau area, we will have breathtaking views of Lake Como and Lecco below.
It is a gorgeous area for an easy 4-mile loop hike. Or enjoy a more difficult climb up toward the mountain-the choice is yours. There is a delightful restaurant on the piani where we will enjoy traditional local dishes and enjoy the stunning views of Mount Resegone. After lunch, the cable car will gently glide us back down so we can then head to the world-famous Pellegrino Spa.
Near the town of Bergamo, where the exclusive San Pellegrino water has its origin, you can soak in the supercharged mineral water. After several years of renovation, the spa reopened in 2015 in a spectacular Nouveau Palace that is 64,000 square feet! Recommended by Leonardo Da Vinci and countless others for its curative powers, we will regenerate our bodies and souls in the rich sulfated thermal waters. They are rich in calcium and magnesium and will be wonderful after our day of hiking. There are more than 30 spa treatments and many pools; panoramic and sensorial. There are waterfalls, steam baths, saunas, bio saunas, Turkish baths, salt, and ice rooms.
We will enjoy this unforgettable experience into the evening and include an Apertiterme, a tasty happy hour with a light but elegant buffet designed to conquer your palate without adding to your waistline.
Tonight we spend another magical slumber in our cozy villa-style home high on the hill above the lake.
Day 4: Mountain Biking the Easy Way
If you´ve never ridden an E-Bike before, you are in for a real surprise and treat! An E (electrically assisted with battery) bike is a delightful way to tour the surrounding lower mountain areas above Lake Como. We use high-quality E mountain bikes which make peddling up the slopes like riding on level ground. We will climb with pleasure up to a spectacular mountain pass and explore some of the dirt roads that meander through pastures and forests with minimal effort. Our itinerary for the day will include about 30-40 kilometers of riding through spectacular scenery once again with gorgeous views over the lake and surrounding mountain peaks.
We will stop for a delicious lunch at a mountain pass restaurant and tour through some beautiful alpine villages. At times it will be relaxing and sometimes exhilarating but with the E-bike you will be left inspired and have great exercise without the burn of those grueling climbs of a conventional bike. The bike loop through the mountains will return us back to the bike shop in the late afternoon so we have plenty of time to relax back at our agriturismo before dinner is served in our private dining room.
Day 5: Lago di Como, Bellagio, Villas, Gardens and Como
The best way to see the spectacular villas and sites of Lake Como is from the water. Our excursion will include a boat tour of some of the most beautiful sites as we traverse the lake from south to north.
On our way to Bellagio, we will pass by and perhaps visit such picturesque towns of Varenna and Tremezzina and icons including Villa Carlotta, Villa Balbianello (famous for the location of several Star War scenes as well as the James Bond movie, Casino Royale), and Isola Comacina. And of course, we pass by the Villa Oleandra, summer home for George Clooney.
Lunch will be on your own in the beautiful village of Bellagio. We will have a few hours to wander around the village enjoying the spectacular lakeside scenery.
In the afternoon we will have a scenic ride along Lake Como to the northern shore village of Olgiasca. Our off-the-beaten-track hotel overlooks the lake with beautiful gardens and stunning views across the lake to the western shore mountains. It features a fabulous restaurant and classic villa-style rooms. Before dinner, we invite those interested for an evening walk around a nearby medieval stone abbey. Dining will be on site with spectacular views over the water, in a very romantic setting.
Day 6: Hiking Via di Mello
Today we embark on a glorious trek through the Val di Mello – regarded as the “The Yosemite of Italy”. This spectacular valley is a well-kept secret to foreign tourists. However, it is a world-class rock climbing area with crystal clear lakes, rivers, and waterfalls and a historic stone village, and even a fine restaurant with local cuisine.
We will hike a few miles into the valley and for those that want a more challenging trek, we can make our way up to a refugio with a mountain stream and pool for a refreshing dip. Those that want to climb (non-technical) will be rewarded with gorgeous views looking out over the valley and the surrounding cliffs.
Both groups will enjoy a delicious lunch together in the center of the valley at one of our favorite open-air trattoria for a taste of the unique local dishes.
In the unlikelihood of foul weather, we always have backup plans to visit the world-class Bagni Vecchi Spa for a really delightful rainy day activity.
We will return to our charming hotel in time for some relaxing and wine tasting before a scrumptious dinner served in our Lakeview restaurant.
Day 7: E-Biking or Boating on the Northern reaches of Lago di Como
Today we offer a choice between e-biking around and above the northern end of Lake Como or a more relaxing private electric boat ride on the northern end of Lake Como and into the picturesque Lago Mezzola. Either way, the stunning beauty of the area is guaranteed to leave you enchanted and with a lasting appreciation for the dramatic landscape of this area.
Those that choose to bike will start out from Colico on the lake and ride the northeast shore of the lake and then cross between lakes Como and Mezzola and head up into the mountains above the lakes into an old historic village with gorgeous views out over the water. We will then loop back through trails in the woods along the northwest shore of the lake and back to Colico for about a 4 hour, 35 km ride with a picnic lunch.
Those that want a more relaxing final day of activities will join one of our guides on a four-hour excursion by E-boat on the lakes. Our journey will take us by a beautiful waterfall and at the far end of Lake Mezzola. Here, we will take a short hike to a hidden 10th-century church. Wine and a picnic lunch of course will be served on the boat.
Either way, this will be a really fun day with extraordinary beauty all around surely to leave you with a final big wow and unforgettable memories.
Tonight we have our farewell dinner in a special restaurant out on the lake with wine from the local region included. A final chance for an evening stroll along the lake will leave us with the glow of having visited this most beautiful region of Northern Italia.
Day 8: Farewells and Transfers
This morning we will have an earlier breakfast to be ready for an 8:00 am departure by van to Milan.
Those of you with flights in the afternoon (from 12:30 PM on) will arrive in time at Malpensa airport in our van. If you have an earlier flight or have a different departure than Malpensa we can arrange a private transfer at an additional cost. We will also offer an extended evening stay in Milano as an option with an early dinner and a theater or musical performance (opera, theater, cultural event based on ticket availability).
Price includes: Departure only airport transfer to Malpensa at the end of the tour for flights after 12:30 PM; All accommodations for 7 nights in a shared room; All breakfasts, 4 lunches, 7 dinners; Transportation in a private van during the tour; private boat tour; E-bike rentals; Services of knowledgeable HE Travel guides; All activities, as listed in the itinerary; Wine at all dinners; All hotel service charges, government taxes, porterage, and meal gratuities for included meals. HE Travel provides complimentary Medical & Evacuation Insurance for every US Resident on our group tours who does not have other coverage.
Not included: Arrival transfer to Milan; International airfare to and from Italy; 2 lunches; Airport departure fees (though these should be included in air ticket fees); Gratuities to local HE Travel guides; Personal items including alcoholic beverages, snacks, laundry, and telephone calls.
Optional Tour Choices:
$175 Early Private Transfer on the last day of the tour. If you have a flight before 12:30 pm, you will need a private transfer.
Post-Tour Pricing. This is for the hotel and dinner only. Ticket price for the show TBD.
$250 1 Shared Room Post-Tour Hotel Night in Milan. (This price does not include the ticket price.)
$350 Private Room (for solo travelers who wish to enjoy a private bedroom and bathroom) 1 Post-Tour Hotel Night in Milan in a single. (This price does not include the ticket price.)
We strongly recommend the purchase of Trip Cancellation and Interruption insurance to protect your vacation investment in case of unforeseen circumstances such as flight delay, illness, or injury. Click Here to learn more about our Insurance partner.
Stay longer for our 1 night Post Tour
Stay 1 extra night in Milan after the tour. Enjoy an early dinner and a theater or musical performance (opera, theater, cultural event based on ticket availability). The performance this evening will be announced at a later date.
Come early and join our French Cycling tour:
Cycle through hills and villages rich in history, redolent with the scents of forest and vineyard. Visit Chateauneuf, Roman ruins, medieval towns, and important sites in Catholicism. Burgundy is famed for its food and wine, so dining and wine-tasting will be as much fun as biking!
- What if I am traveling alone?
- Most of our trips draw more single travelers than couples. When couples do join us, it’s usually because they’re looking forward to interacting with a gay group; if they wanted a holiday by themselves, they wouldn’t have signed up to travel with us. Furthermore, the activities included with our trips serve as natural ice-breakers. Within a day, you’ll be traveling with friends. You don’t need to pay the single supplement if you’re traveling alone. We’ll be happy to match you with a roommate. Pay the single supplement only if you want a bedroom to yourself. For selected trips, including cruises, we will charge half the single supplement if you request a roommate but we can’t match you with someone.
- What is the physical activity level of this tour?
Physical Activity Level
This tour has been set up to be most enjoyable for people comfortable hiking, cycling over rolling terrain.
- How do I get from the airport to the hotel in Milan on Day 1?
- There are a few different options for getting to the hotel.
- The train will take about 40 minutes and will cost between $12 and $16.
- The bus will take about 50 minutes and will cost between $6 and $11.
- The shuttle takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes and will cost between $11 and $13.
- A taxi will take about 40 minutes and will cost between $90 and $110.
- Where does the tour start and end?
- This tour starts and ends in Milan, Italy
- What will the hotels be like?
- We will be staying at a total of 3 different hotels during our tour. 1 night in Milan, 3 nights in an exclusive boutique hotel overlooking Lake Como and 3 nights in a Mountain Boutique Agriturismo.
- Additional Questions
- For answers to your additional questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-294-8174