Venice and the Italian Lakes Walking Tour in Autumn
Introduce yourself to Venice and the stunning Italian Lakes including Venice, Como, Maggiore and Turin.
There are many reasons to choose Hidden Italy walking tours, here are some of the things that make us different..
Hidden Italy has been organising and taking tours to Italy for twenty-five years. We are proudly family owned, managed and operated. Every aspect of the tours is personally selected, monitored and reviewed. We don’t outsource or use third party services!
Hidden Italy specialises in walking tours in Italy. We don’t try to be all things to all people but stick with what we know best – Italy. After thirty years exploring this wonderful country and twenty years organising walking tours, we feel we’ve barely touched the surface and are looking forward to what’s to come. As Giuseppe Verdi said, “You may have the universe, if I may have Italy”.
Hidden Italy guided tours visit places that are off the beaten track, and visits them in times of the year that are ideal for walking: the guided tours to southern Italy go in spring (May) when the wild flowers are out and everything is green after the winter rains; while the tours to northern Italy go in autumn (September) when the temperatures have cooled, the tourists have left and the first autumn colours have started to appear.
The pace of the guided tours is relaxed (it is a holiday after all!) and gives you plenty of time to unpack and soak up the atmosphere of the places we visit. We alternate walking days with exploring days (eg islanding hopping; visiting vineyards and talking with local chefs; guided visits to archeological treasures etc) and leave you plenty of time each day to do some exploring of your own.
We go to places that are well off the regular tourist trails and focus on a single region which has its own integral history and cultural traditions. Moving at an easy pace means that you have the chance to really get to know and understand the places we visit.
Our guided tours travel in small groups (from seven to a maximum of fifteen guests), which means that we move discretely; the service is personalised and flexible; and there is the opportunity to get to know your travelling companions.
Our self-guided tours are continuous walks taking you from A to B along ancient paths that lead you through some of the most spectacular countryside in Europe. There are no shuttles or buses! Just pull on your boots each morning and set out – we’ll look after the rest.
Our self-guided walks are safe: there is always a farmhouse in sight (we don’t take you through national parks or wilderness!). The walking package includes 1:25,000 scale daily maps based on the Italian Military maps. These are accompanied by detailed daily walking notes that are updated regularly. You have 24 hour telephone back-up via our local operation managers. The self-guided itineraries are rewalked and the notes updated each year.
Our self-guided walks use the best available accommodation, a guarantee (no hostels or dodgy b&bs out the back). All the accommodation is carefully selected and regularly monitored by Hidden Italy. It is centrally located, all have en suite bathrooms and are locally owned and operated.
As the walks are often in out-of-the-way places, we include private transfers at the beginning and end of each itinerary to the nearest major train station. Each tour is supported by the local support drivers who move your bags each day and who are also available should you wish to shorten or miss a walk.
The Venice and the Italian Lakes walking tour starts in Venice. We meet in our hotel (on a canal in a quiet residential area) on the first night for a short stroll around the neighbourhood and dinner in a nearby restaurant. (Dinner).
This morning we take a four hour walk along some of the smaller canals, through hidden lanes and squares, exploring some of the less visited parts of the city. After a traditional lunch on a quiet canal on Dorsduro, the afternoon is free. (Lunch).
This morning we leave Venice by water taxi, crossing the lagoon to be then taken by private bus to a gorgeous town on the shores of Lake Como opposite Bellagio our base for the next four days, staying in a 17th century villa, with famous gardens. On the way, we stop for lunch in a celebrated osteria that has been in the same family for four. The evening is free. (Lunch).
This morning we take the ferry across the lake. This spectacular walk climbs up to a charming church with glorious views over the lake, where we have a picnic lunch. From here we loop around and walk down to Menaggio, from where we take the ferry back to our base where the rest of the day is free (4 hours). (Lunch).
This morning we visit one of the finest villa’s on the shores of Lake Como (for better or worse, the set for a number of Hollywood blockbusters, including Star Wars and James Bond). A pleasant ferry ride down the lake towards Como city, the villa sits on the tip of a forested peninsula and is one of the highlights of the tour. It the original building dates from the 12th century but was transformed over successive centuries. A private guided tour will take us through the gardens and the villa itself, with its wonderful historic collections.
After the visit, we take the ferry back to our base, stopping at neighbouring Bellagio, one of the ‘most beautiful villages in Italy’ on the way. You’ll have the afternoon free in Bellagio. In the evening we’ll rejoin for a candle lit dinner overlooking the lake. (Dinner)
Today’s walk takes up to the castle above our town, and then along the face of the mountains following stone trading paths that have been used since Roman times, with breath-taking views over Lake Como and the mountains to Switzerland. We break for morning tea (coffee?) in the next village before continuing on to our destination, where we join local families for a robust Sunday lunch in a small osteria, or inn, that has been servicing walkers on the track for centuries and specializes in traditional ‘comasco’ cooking (3.5 hrs).
There is a steep start of the walk but you’ll have the possibility of shortening the walk or skipping it altogether and joining the walkers for lunch. After lunch we have a pleasant ferry back to our base where the rest of the day is free.
This morning we leave Lake Como, crossing the nearby Swiss border into the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino and driving through the mountains to the northern Swiss end of Lake Maggiore. Along the way we stop for a short lake side walk and lunch in the elegant financial city of Lugano.
Our base for the next four nights is a charming 400 year old mountain hotel tucked away in the valleys above Locarno at the northern tip of Lake Maggiore. After settling into the hotel, you’ll be taken on a guided walk around this very interesting small town. We’ll have dinner at a lovely traditional restaurant on the edge of town. (Dinner)
Today’s walk takes us into a neighbouring valley, known to the locals as the valley of the sun. Climbing up to a small chapel, we follow stone paths through a narrow gorge and into a valley, passing through chestnut and oak forests, past goat farms and a tiny hamlet before descending to the valley floor, finishing at a comfortable bar, overlooking a white stone river. We’ll have a picnic lunch along the walk. (4 hrs). The evening is free. (Lunch)
Today is a free day, with a variety of options (your guide will be available to help with advice and making the arrangements) including: taking the electric train into Locarno (15 minutes) to shop and/or take a ferry ride on Lake Maggiore, visiting the botanical gardens on the Brissago islands; do an easy walk into Locarno, following the river (2 hours); or take the little train for the celebrated ride all the way through the very beautiful valley, back into Italy, where you can get off for lunch before catching the train back to our base (3 hour round trip); or chill out at the hotel, reading a good book and exploring the village. Dinner tonight is a treat – eating at the town’s best restaurant, a gourmet delight. (Dinner)
This morning’s walk takes you length of the beautiful valley we are staying. We start by taking the small narrow-gauge train into the spectacular valley (one of the classic train rides) to a pretty village on the Italian border and then follow a well-marked ancient trail above the river all the way back to our base. Along the way back we pass through a number of pretty villages, stopping at one for lunch. It is possible to shorten the walk here, taking a train back to base (5 hrs). (Lunch)
Today we leave Switzerland and drive down the shore of the lake, crossing the border into Italy and heading for Turin, a surprisingly gracious city of wide boulevards, elegant arcades and grand public buildings, looking its best since the 2006 Winter Olympics. On the way we visit arguably the most enchanting of all the Italian lakes, tiny Lake Orta. After a short walk around the shores of the lake (0.5 hrs) we’ll visit the gorgeous village of San Giulio d’Orta and have lunch before continuing on to Turin. After settling into the hotel, you’ll have the time to explore the city and do a little afternoon shopping. The evening is free. (Lunch)
This morning you will be taken on a guided walk through Turin’s centre visiting some of the city’s Baroque splendour, the legacy of the Savoy kings who ruled from here for nearly six centuries (4 hrs). The afternoon is free. In the evening we take a short walk through the heart of the city, have an aperitif and have dinner in one of the city’s fine restaurants. (Dinner)
After breakfast, you will be able to continue your holiday – Turin has a local airport, a shuttle service to Malpensa international airport and is well connected by train to all major Italian cities and to the rest of Europe.
- 12 nights accommodation in 4-star boutique hotels (see itinerary for details)
- All breakfasts, and all lunches and dinners (with wine) listed in the itinerary.
- All land and lakes transfers listed in the itinerary
- All taxes and service charges at the hotels
- All paid admissions during the tour
- 7 guided walks
- Full-time services of a fully experienced bi-lingual guide
26 August 2022