Hiking and Walking the Italian Lakes: Tranquil Waters at the Foot of the Alps

Dive into the local culture of Northern Italy on expert-led walks, exploring local cuisine, lakeside villages, medieval architecture and timeless Italian traditions.
Rating (5)
Program No. 17290RJ
12 days
Starts at
Flights start at

At a Glance

Northern Italy is ringed by a series of lakes whose blue waters and Mediterranean vegetation frame a vista of snowcapped peaks trimmed with olive and dark cypress trees and dotted with traditional villas clinging to the hillsides. On expert-led walks, discover the history, culture and architecture of these areas while learning about the geology, flora and fauna behind their unmatched natural beauty.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Spirited
Walking 4-8 miles at a relaxed pace with frequent stops; up and downhill over uneven terrain, well-marked trails, roads, some valleys and meadows. Sturdy walking/hiking shoes are required. Elevations up to 3,600 feet.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Expert-led walks take you along the shores of beautiful lakes and through charming villages.
  • Partake in aspects of local culture, such as learning to play the Italian game of bocce.
  • Learn to prepare authentic local cuisine during a hands-on cooking class.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
La Bella Lingua
by Dianne Hales
Inebriated with the sounds of Italian, lovesick for its phrases and enamored of its earthy idioms, Hales, "a sensible woman of sturdy Polish stock," dives into the Italian of the piazza, literature, movies and streets in this charming memoir.
Cicerone Walking the Italian Lakes
by Gillian Price
Cicerone's guidebook to 50 coastal strolls and full-day climbs around the Italian Lakes features routes around Garda, Maggiore, Como and Iseo. All routes are illustrated with clear maps and photographs.
Hotel du Lac
by Anita Brookner
Funny, stylish and spellbinding, Brookner's novel tracks the story of a romance novelist seeking evasive peace and quiet at the luxurious Hotel du Lac in Switzerland. Winner of the Man Booker Prize.
A Palm for Mrs. Pollifax
by Dorothy Gilman
A secret agent like no other, feisty grandmother Mrs. Pollifax goes to Switzerland to track down a missing package of plutonium -- just enough to make a small atomic bomb. Fourth in the series.
The Art of the Renaissance
by Peter Murray
A classic, illustrated survey of the world of the Renaissance and its art. With chapters on Florence and its artists, the Netherlands, early illustrated books and many individual artists.
The Alps, A Human History from Hannibal to Heidi and Beyond
by Stephen O'Shea
In an entertaining narrative, O'Shea drives, hikes and climbs through 500 miles of the Alps while musing on the historic personalities who braved the forbidding range, including Napoleon, Hitler and James Bond. A thoughtful introduction to the Alps.
Italy, A Short History
by Harry Hearder
Elegantly written, generous and informative, this compact book takes in the sweep of Italian history from the Roman Republic through the Renaissance, World War II and up to the present.
Birds of Europe
by Lars Svensson
Featuring 3,500 glorious paintings by Killian Mullarney and Dan Zetterstrom, the second edition of this exquisite guide features updated text and maps.
Eyewitness Guide Milan and the Lakes
by Eyewitness Guides
A superb guide to Milan and the Italian lakes featuring color photography, dozens of excellent local maps and a region-by-region synopsis of the area's attractions. Handsome, convenient and up-to-date, this is the guide to carry.
Killing Dragons, The Conquest of the Alps
by Fergus Fleming
Fleming spins lively tales of man against nature in this entertaining history of the eccentrics, adventurers and publicity-hounds who sought to conquer the Alps, including Whymper and his first ascent of the Matterhorn 150 years ago.
La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind
by Beppe Severgnini
Italians themselves love this guide to the Italian character, which addresses their never-ending passion for beauty, disorder and high emotion. The book opens with a snapshot of Malpensa Airport, then moves on to Tuscany, Rome, Naples and Sardinia.
D.H. Lawrence and Italy
by D.H. Lawrence
This omnibus Penguin Classics edition includes Lawrence's three travel tales, each very different in tone and all wonderful: Sea and Sardinia is a nostalgic look at traditional ways of life; Twilight in Italy, an evocation of Lawrence's memorable stay on Lake Garda; and Etruscan Places, his musings on ancient sites, including the painted tombs of Tarquinia.
A Farewell to Arms
by Ernest Hemingway
Set in snowy Switzerland and the rainy Italian Lake Country during WWI, this semi-autobiographical novel chronicles the romance between a British nurse and an American ambulance driver. This edition collects all of the alternate endings, along with early drafts of other essential passages
The Italian Summer: Golf, Food, and Family at Lake Como
by Roland Merullo
Merullo shares this congenial account of a summer with his family in Italy and Switzerland, offering delicious descriptions of wonderful meals, colorful characters -- and rounds of golf at some of the most beautiful courses in Europe. He is a golf fanatic.
The Betrothed
by Alessandro Manzoni
By many accounts the first modern Italian novel, Manzoni's 1827 classic concerns star-crossed lovers in 17th-century Lombardy. Promoted during unification, Italy's best-known novel has been made into films and a musical.
A Tramp Abroad
by Mark Twain, David Eggers (Introduction), Kerry Driscoll (Introduction)
Written 11 years after Innocents Abroad, this is Twain's second foray into European travel. Filled with his characteristic wit and humorous observations, it documents his journeys through Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy. Now with an introduction by Dave Eggers.
Italian Lakes Map
by Litographia Artistica Cartographica
A detailed map of the Italian lakes region, including Orta, Lugano, Como and Maggiore, at the excellent scale of 1:100,000, produced in Italy.
Lombardy, 127 Destinations for Discovering Art, History and Beauty
by Philippe Daverio
This guide to 127 cultural sites in Lombardy unveils some of Italy’s best-kept secrets: Lake Como and Lake Garda, enchanting medieval villages, prehistoric rock etchings, 18th-century villas and countless monuments, statues and paintings.
Lonely Planet Italian Phrasebook
by Lonely Planet
A handy, palm-sized guide to pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.

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