Project Description

From the stilish Lake Como and Bellagio to the unspoilt Lake Orta, through the peaceful Lake Lugano and the majestic Lake Maggiore: a journey across the world’s most trendy waters and tasty subalpine cuisine of Piedmont and Lombardy. And beside the famous places, we will discover truly surprising sites!


    Ghisallo Pass & Shrine
    The fisherman’s Ittiturismo
    Lake Como panoramic road
    The quiet Lake of Lugano
    Valganna bike path in the forest
    Ravioli with lake fish and Merlot of Varese wine
    Cannero Riviera and Stresa
    The cruise beside the Borromee Islands
    The cableway to Mottarone mount
    Lake Orta


    Start/End: Canzo/Orta
    When: On Request from March to November
    Cost: 650€ per person
    Level of difficulty: intermediate
    Lenght: 3 days/2 nights
    Distance/Elevation Gain: 172 km/1540 metres
    Terrain: tarmac, dirt roads, bike paths
    Accommodation: small family hotels
    Meals: resturants, trattoria
    Note: in case of bad weather the tour might be cancelled

3 days/2 nights

172 km/1540 metres gain

Level: Intermediate

Start/End: Canzo/Orta

The nortwestern side of the Italian Alps offers the traveler a landscape of incomparable beauty: alpine peaks covered with snow give way to a layer of high hills surrounding lakes of various shapes. Heritage of the glaciation era, Lake Como, Lake Lugano, Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta form a large patchwork of body of waters divided by green forests and highlands. Each lake has its distinctive charachter: Lake Como with its scenic views and amazing villas, Lake Maggiore with the Borromee Island and elegant towns, Lake Lugano with its peaceful mood and Lake Orta with its cosy atmosphere. Nonetheless all the region has a common tradition of rustic mountain food, ranging from lake fish to game meat, to stuffed pasta and artisan cheeses.

Day 1: we’ll depart from Canzo, halfway through Como and Lecco in Lombardy, situated at the entrance of Vallassina valley that overlooks Lake Como. We begin with a climb, quite long but easily manageable, which bring us to a really special place: the Ghisallo Pass, home of the Museum of Bicycling with the nearby church devoted to Madonna del Ghisallo, Patroness Saint of the cyclists. An unmissable shrine for all those who love cycling. After visiting the shrine adorned with old race bicycles and plates, we hit again the road and take the long descent down to the famous lakeshore town of Bellagio: the town is situated on a cape and welcome us with its narrow pedestrian streets and ancient buildings. We pedal along the fancy promenade overlooking the north of Lake Como until a nearby fishermen village: time for lunch, we will taste fresh lake fish cooked in the local fashion! Back on the saddle, a pleasant and long ride on the Lake Como shores is awaiting us: a sinuous route through little coves and gulfs, small villages and bell towers. We reach the town of Torno and embark on the ferry with our bicycles, for a quick cruise to Moltrasio, our final destination today. Tonight we will enjoy dinner in a traditional cooperative restaurant serving regional cuisine from Lombardy.

Day 2: today we will cycle through Italy and Switzerland on Lake Lugano: we pass the border and follow the network of backroads in the vineyards area of Canton Ticino until we reach Lake Ceresio, the original name of the body of water today called Lake Lugano. Known for its blue waters, it lies on a plain surrounded by hills and subalpine peaks, offering a perfect environment for the cyclist: smooth tarmac and little traffic will make our ride realy enjoyable. We make our first break of the day on a green meadow on the lakeshore to watch the landscape and take pictures, then we move on to Porto Ceresio back on the Italian side, where we stop for a quick lunch in a picturesque trattoria. Back on the saddle and in a few km time we hit Ponte Tresa on the western edge of Lake Lugano, where a beautiful bike path starts: the Valganna trail, built along the old railway line. We ride into the forest, climbing up gentle hills and down to little valleys for the most of the afternoon. A funny descent brings us finally to the plain of Varese where another bikepath lead to the town of Luino on the Lake Maggiore coast, our homeplace tonight. Dinner will take place in a very special Osteria with local recipes from the old times.

Day 3: quite early wake up today, the ferry awaits us! We cross the Maggiore Lake from Lombardy towards the Piedmont side docking in Cannero Riviera, one of the most charming towns of the whole area: a small village well known for its mild climate due to a fully sun-exposed position, adorned with colourful flowers and Mediterranean flora. A quick espresso on the docks and a stroll through the narrow cobblestone streets, then we move on to the panoramic road running above the shores.
There are not many villages along the road which is a bless: it will allow us to admire the open landscape of Lake Maggiore, made of little coves and capes,  and island in the middle of the waters. We ride until Verbania, the capital town of the lake province, where we stop in the main square for a refreshing break and lunch. In the early afternoon we take a ferry to Stresa, the “pearl” of Lake Maggiore, sailing beside the gourgeous Borromee Islands. Stresa is a sophisticated town, featuring fancy hotels and wonderful villas, favourite leisure spots for Kings and Queens, writers and actors, since the XX century. And it’s also the starting point of the cableway to the Mottarone Mount, which we will definitely take! The cableway goes from the lakeshores to the mountain peak at 1400 metres above sea level in only twenty minutes. We load the bikes and go, let’s reach the top! The seightseeing from Mottarone is something unique: Lake Maggiore on one side, Lake Orta on the other, and the Alpine ring all around. We take the slope towards Orta, a 10km long descent amongst pine trees and pastures with tight turns, which will test our riding ability. Orta lake is in our sight, we enter the medieval town of Orta and reach the main square on the bay in front of the Island of San Giulio, final destination of our bike tour.
ELEVATION: 140 mt (real cycling excluding the cableway to Mottarone)

Costs may vary depending on the travel period and number of participants. The figures shown are therefore approximate based on average.
– two night stays in 3*** hotel and B&B, double room accommodation with breakfast
– two 3-course dinners drinks excluded
– three light lunches drinks excluded
– ferry and cableway tickets
– touring bicycle+helmet
– luggage transport
– taxes, entrances, fees
Additional services such as support van, private transfer to/from the start/end of the tour, electric-assisted bicycle, licensed tour guide, shall be quoted upon request.

The tour will be escorted by an english speaking volunteer local expert: he is not a licenced tour guide but a trustworthy companion, fine connoisseur of the places, culture and oenogastronomy. He will join for free, if the clients enjoyed the tour they can tip him at the end.