Gentle Cycling Tour
Italian Lakes
cycling experience

Gentle and slow cycling experience around Italian Lake District

Northern Italy's natural lakes are famous and admired all over the world, nestled between the Alps to the North and the flat lands of the Po Valley to the South, with breathtaking panoramas, ancient villages, and villas on each lake.

These lakes and their mountains have been natural and physical borders for thousands of years.
Today they continue to serve as borders among Lombardy (Italy), Piedmont (Italy) and Canton of Ticino (Italian speaking part of Switzerland).
There's so much diversity environmentally and culturally within this small area.
You can only truly grasp all there is to see by bike.

The Northern Italy's Lake District isn't flat. You might think that this is not the place for more relaxed rides or for gentle and slow cycling.
However, we have designed a cycling esperience around Lake Maggiore, Lugano and Varese for recreational cyclists mainly along cycle paths and back roads where you can avoid cycling any big hills and medium sized hills as well. A perfect blend of riding and relaxation for slower cyclists.
The rides are suitable for those who doesn't love to tackle climbs.
Generally we run a weeklong tour from Friday (Start location: Varese) till Friday (End location: Colmegna on Lake Maggiore). Please get in touch and let us see what we can do.
If you love to climb take a look at overall offering.

Easy cycle routes around Lake Maggiore, Lugano, Varese

Explore Lake Maggiore, Lugano and Varese. Enjoy a deeper exploration of what our area has to offer: ancient villas, parks, churches and hermitages which were built from Sixteenth Century to the Nineteenth Century, exibitions, history, art, culture.

In particular we suggest to visit Villa Panza at Varese, Villa della Porta Bozzolo at Casalzuigno, Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso on Lake Maggiore, Sacro Monte of Varese (historic site on the UNESCO Worldwide Heritage List).
Learn more about the best tourist attractions around.

2022 Gentle cycling tour prices per person in Euro

Double room
€ 1,400.00 - Spring & Autumn tour
Double room
€ 1,450.00 - Summer tour
Single room supplement
€ 245.00

Start location:
Varese
End location:
Colmegna
Duration:
7 days, 7 nights, 6 days of cycling
Limit:
8/10 guests
Level of difficulty:
recreational cyclists
Terrain:
mostly flat, rarely undulating, no hills

Avg. daily distance:
main route 46 km – 29 mi
Avg. daily ascent:
main route 335 m. – 1,100 ft
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gentle cycling experience Lake Maggiore
gentle cycling experience Lake Lugano
gentle cycling experience Locarno
gentle cycling experience Italian Lakes Baveno
gentle cycling experience Italian lakes Stresa

2022 scheduled dates

Generally we run a weeklong tour from Friday (Start location: Varese) till Friday (End location: Colmegna on Lake Maggiore).
Please get in touch and let us see what we can do.

Our bike tours are guaranteed to run once we have one confirmed booking on the tour.
If zero guests have booked one of our tours, we reserve the right to cancel it.

Included services in bike tour:

  • 3 nights in double room in Varese - 4 nights in apartment room in Colmegna
  • High-calorie continental breakfasts
  • Packet lunches, strengthened and protein content snack with bananas and sandwiches
  • Post ride lunches when you go back to the hotel
  • Dinners
  • Double occupancy as standard
  • A skilled bike guide
  • Luggage transport when you move from the first hotel to the second hotel
  • The digital map of the routes drawn by us, so you can look at it on smartphone dispaly
  • Safe storage with CCTV for your bike at the hotel
  • Workstand tool bench for basic maintenance
  • Isotonic drinks or water for your ride
  • Washing and cleaning area for bikes
  • Daily laundry service for your cycle clothing
  • Bicycle recovery assistance in case of breakdown
  • Free Internet Wi-Fi
  • Car parking

Not included:

  • Bike hire
  • Travel insurance
  • Medical and physiotherapy services
  • Transfer to and from Airport
  • Entrance fees Castles, Villas, Museums
  • Any extra-beverage and other extras at dinner

Bike Tour Details / Daily Routes

This is a general program to to demonstrate how the cycling esperience is structured. We can include more distance, less distance or different routes. The riding arrangements can be flexible according to your needs.
We generally meet at the bikes around 8.00 for a 8.30 ride start. A coffee stop and a light lunch stop on the way are suggested during the daily ride. We go back to the hotel in the afternoon (14.00/15.00), where you can enjoy a post ride lunch. The rest of the day is relax time.

1 ~ Friday - Arrival

After your arrival in our hotel there will be a pre-tour briefing.

Accomodation: Hotel Ungheria Varese

2 ~ Saturday - Lake Varese, Gavirate, Santa Caterina Del Sasso, Lake Maggiore

Route: distance 40 km – 25 mi; elevation 310 m – 1,017 ft
Accomodation: Hotel Ungheria Varese

Let's get started on our exploration of the foothills to the North of Varese. You ride close to Lake Varese. Then you get through the villages of Gavirate and Brebbia. At last you arrive to Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso on the shores of Lake Maggiore. Its position on the lake is extraordinary and particularly spectacular, at the foot of a formidable rock cliff. The hermitage cannot be got by car, only on foot by descending 268 steps. After visiting the hermitage you continue the way along the shore of Lake Maggiore so you arrive to Laveno. You can get on the train for going back to Varese (return by train 45 minutes approx).

3 ~ Sunday - Brinzio, Villa Della Porta Bozzolo, Laveno, Lake Maggiore

Route: distance 33 km – 21 mi; elevation 150 m – 492 ft
Accomodation: Hotel Ungheria Varese

Today's ride winds among Regional Park of Monte Campo dei Fiori and the town of Laveno on the shore of Lake Maggiore. At first you have to climb up to village of Brinzio. Then you visit Villa Della Porta Bozzolo at Casalzuigno. Constructed in the 16th century as a country residence, it was transformed in the 18th century into an aristocratic Villa. The interiors were embellished by rococo frescos and a terraced garden. The Villa is located in a valley called Valcuvia. At last you get to Laveno for going back to Varese by train (return by train 45 minutes approx).

Other rides you can do during your stay in Varese:

Porto Ceresio, Lake Lugano, Ponte Tresa, Lake Ghirla, Villa Panza

Route: distance 50 km – 31 mi; elevation 350 m – 1,148 ft

Today you get to Lake Lugano via Arcisate village. You ride along the lakeside between Porto Ceresio village and Ponte Tresa village on the West coast.
You go back to Varese through the long cycle path from the village of Ponte Tresa to the village of Ganna. The first part of cycle path is old and wooded tramway with several tunnels. You have to tackle a slight climb never demanding: 4 km. The former tramway connected Varese with several villages in the first half of the 20th century. Now lends a few kilometres of its route to the cycle path. You ride close to three small lakes as well: (Lake Ghirla, Lake Ganna and Lake Brinzio) and across two valleys (Val Marchirolo and Valganna).
Before going back to hotel you can visit Villa Menafoglio Litta Panza in Varese where there are always art exhibitions.

Lake Lugano loop

Route: distance 55 km – 33 mi; elevation 175 m – 524 ft

The route is a flat ride around the Lake Lugano, almost completely in Switzerland.
You cross the Valceresio Valley, and then the ride unwinds along Lake Lugano, with views and landscapes of Morcote, of Monte Generoso and of Monte Lema in Switzerland. You can ride through Porto Ceresio, Brusimpiano, Lavena Ponte Tresa. For a short time you can then leave the lake and cut across Caslano on back roads. You can carry on your route through Agno, Morcote, Melide, Bissone, Capolago, Riva San Vitale and Brusino.
Morcote is famous for the arcade buildings on the shores of the lake, some of which were constructed in the late Middle Ages.
Round-trip transfer by by support vehicle

4 ~ Monday - Bedero Valcuvia, Valtravaglia, Luino, Lake Maggiore, Colmegna

Route: distance 52 km – 32 mi; elevation 250 m – 820 ft
Accomodation: Relais Villa Porta in Colmegna

Today you transfer to our new accommodation to Colmegna on the shores of Lake Maggiore. You have to climb up to village of Brinzio another time. You get to the town of Luino on the shore of Lake Maggiore after a wooded descent and a long flat cycle path which crosses the entire valley named Valmarchirolo. A short stretch again between Luino and the village of Colmegna where is located the hotel.

5 ~ Tuesday - Northern shores of Lake Maggiore: Locarno, Ascona, Brissago

Route: distance 63 km – 39 mi; ascent 650 m – 2,130 ft
Accomodation: Relais Villa Porta in Colmegna

Ride entirely lakeside along several village and town on the Lake Maggiore. There are no climbs, however you have to takle several ups ad downs. On this route you can get a panoramic view of Lake Maggiore. You will cross the town of Locarno and Ascona on cycle paths (16km - 10mi cycle path). The heart of the city is the Piazza Grande, well-known for its annual film festival. Then you pass trought the carateristic cobled lakeside of Ascona. Return to Colmegna via Luino with the boat. You cross the lake from Cannobio dock or Cannero dock.

6 ~ Wednesday - Along the shores of Lake Maggiore: Laveno, Intra, Pallanza, Cannero

Route: distance 37 km – 23 mi; elevation 300 m – 984 ft
Accomodation: Relais Villa Porta in Colmegna

This ride takes you along the lakeside routes just a bit to the south of Colmegna. You cross the lake twice: with a ferry ride from Laveno to Intra and by boat fram Cannero to Luino. At Laveno a comfortable two-seat cable car take you gently up almost to the summit of Sasso del Ferro (approx. altitude 1,100 m – 3,600 ft) from where you can admire a magnificent view over Lake Maggiore, the Alps, pre-Alps and the Lake Varese. At Pallanza you can visit Villa Taranto Botanical Gardens. They are well-known all around the world for its magnificent gardens of rare flowers and plants.  The lovely park of the Villa Taranto was created after the Second World War by a retired Scottish army officer, a botanist who collected plants from around the world to grow in this English landscape-style garden park.

7 ~ Thursday - Ponte Tresa, Lake Lugano, Marchirolo, Cunardo, Grantola

Route: distance 40 km – 25 mi; elevation 550 m – 1,804 ft
Accomodation: Relais Villa Porta in Colmegna

The first part of the route is a mostly flat ride along River Tresa from Luino on Lake Maggiore to Ponte Tresa on Lake Lugano. Then 4 wooded km will take you from Ponte Tresa up to Valmarchirolo. You will ride on the former tramway which, in the first half of the 20th century connected Varese to Ponte Tresa, and you will pass through several tunnels. It's a slight climb never demanding. It's accessible even to less fit or experienced riders. You will ride across the village of Marchirolo and Cunardo. After a long downhill on cycle path you can reach the cycle path of Valtravaglia, a flat route mainly along Margorabbia. It connects Grantola, Mesenzana and Luino.
Option: you can cross the border between Italy and Switzerland at Ponte Tresa and ride a small flat loop (8 km. - 5 mi) around Caslano and Magliaso.

Other rides you can do during your stay in Colmegna:

Lake Maggiore and on the inside: Laveno, Villa Della Porta Bozzolo

Route: distance 40 km – 25 mi; elevation 550 m – 1,804 ft

The first part of the ride takes you along the lakeside road from Colmegna to Laveno via Porto Valtravaglia. At Laveno a comfortable two-seat cable car take you gently up almost to the summit of Sasso del Ferro (approx. altitude 1,100 m – 3,600 ft) from where you can admire a magnificent view over Lake Maggiore, the Alps, pre-Alps and the Lake Varese. You can easly reach Villa Della Porta Bozzolo at Casalzuigno if you ride the cycle path from Laveno to Cittiglio and then the backroad from Cittiglio to Casalzuigno. Villa Della Porta Bozzolo was constructed in the 16th century as a country residence, it was transformed in the 18th century into an aristocratic Villa. The interiors were embellished by rococo frescos and a terraced garden. The last part of the ride is along the cycle path between Cuveglio and Luino.

Piano di Magadino, Bellinzona and medieval castels

Route: distance 80 km – 50 mi; ascent 830 m – 2,730 ft

The goal of this flat ride is the medioeval town of Bellinzona and his cobbled pedestrian heart. The skyline of Bellinzona is defined by the powerful fortifications, comprising three of the best-preserved medieval castles in Switzerland, which are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
From Colmegna ride towards Locarno the northernmost town on the Lake Maggiore. Follow the cycle path n. 31 immediately after crossing the Ticino river, the tributary of Lake Maggiore. You will ride in a wide flat vally, called Piano di Magadino. The mountains will be closer then ever, and you can see the last of the PreAlps towers above you. You head back through che cycle path n.311 away from the busy roads.
You will cross twice the Swiss-Italian border, however you need your documents.

8 ~ Friday - Departure

Breakfast and departure.

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