Cycling holiday in Italy and Switzerland

“Cycling through two incredible countries, this small group trip combines physical effort, sensational scenery, fascinating history and 100 percent support”


Lake Orta | Angera | Lake Maggiore | Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso | Porto Valtravaglia | Borromeo Islands | Caslano | Lugano | Lake Como | Menaggio | Colico | Villa del Balbianello | Como city

Description of Cycling holiday in Italy and Switzerland

If you’re longing to get pedalling and explore some gorgeous lakeside scenery, then this small group cycling holiday in Italy and Switzerland is your ticket to ride. Exploring the winding shores of both Lake Como and Lake Maggiore, you’ll take in medieval villages, historic mansions and dense forest, cycling on good quality roads for some eternally memorable moments both in and out of the saddle.

Cycling around Lake Maggiore unveils a plethora of stunning sights, such as the abbey of Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso, which clings to a rock above the glistening waters, and the Borromeo Islands, a beguiling archipelago that was a favourite of Ernest Hemmingway.

Your two-wheeled exploration of Lake Como, meanwhile, will have you marvelling at the 12th century architecture of the Cistercian Santa Maria di Piona Abbey, as well as the intricate gardens of the 19th century Villa del Balbianello, so beautiful that it has made an appearance in several international movies.

With all that cycling you’re bound to work up an appetite and filling your face with local delicacies is a key part of the trip! You’ll get well acquainted with local cheeses, meats, honey, wines and real Italian gelato; and a visit to a Swiss chocolate museum will give you plenty of opportunity to sample some of the good stuff.

Travel Team

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10 May 2020
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Holiday type

Small group holiday

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Cycling holiday in Italy and Switzerland

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.


Accommodation and Meals:
On this tour we will spend 7 nights in small hotels. All accommodation is locally owned and staffed, which provides employment and income alternatives for many locals. Where meals are provided, there is a focus on using locally sourced produce and traditional ingredients in locally-run establishments. For meals that are not included, clients are encouraged to eat in authentic, family-run restaurants that showcase the best of Italian cuisine prepared from local produce and to ensure the local communities benefit from our visit.

Local Craft and Culture:
This tour is packed with culture: we visit the cities of Como and Luganoand also a number of interesting sights along the way. In particular we will visit the Santa Caterina del Sasso Hermitage, the Cistercian Santa Maria di Piona Abbey and the Borromeo Island. We will use public ferries, as well as group transfers to reach the destinations, to minimise our impact on the territory.

This trip is designed to allow a high degree of economic benefit to the local communities; we buy local produce, eat local food including gelato made from artisans parlours. Throughout the trip clients get to do a Grappa and a wine tasting. Both are organised with small local procedures to support their businesses. There will also be a stop in a traditional “locanda” (cosy typical restaurant) to enjoy a tasting of local produce.

Water is a really important issue with cycling trips and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital to provide water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. We advise our clients to take water bottle they can refill at the hotels and/or at fountains along the way.

Travelling with respect:
Cycling trips in general have a minimal impact on the environment; clients are briefed on managing food waste on cycling days- litter can be collected by guide in support vehicle and disposed of appropriately, in respect of local recycling policies. As this is a cycling trip, clients will interact with locals on scheduled stops, but also on the roads while cycling.

UK office
It all starts at home so we have first worked to reduce our carbon footprint in our UK offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies in place, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

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