Stride climate

Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Lake Como & Swiss Alps Hiking tour

Lake Como & Swiss Alps Hiking

REI Adventures
4.4 . Great
100%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Full day hiking or trekking over medium to long distances. Moderate expectation of physical fitness. Strenuous
Lodging Level: 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
8 days
From: $ 3,999 $ 500 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Day hikes offering stunning views of Lake Como and the lake region of St. Moritz
  • The picturesque and elegant Lake Como villages of Bellagio and Varenna
  • Ride the Bernina Express Train crossing high-mountain passes of the Swiss Alps
  • Hiking between the glaciated peaks and high alpine meadows of the Bernina Alpine Range

Short Description

Spend eight days journeying across majestic trails to two of Europe’s most picturesque destinations.

Italy's Lake Como, with its lemon groves and quaint villages, is an oasis of tranquility surrounded by soaring mountains. The Swiss Alps is a beautifully rugged, glacial environment offering one spectacularly twisted peak after another. The two stand in stark contrast but, together, make for an unforgettable journey.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
Spend most of the time outdoors. Common trip themes and activities include cycling, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting.
Itinerary Focus Active
3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Lodging Level Premium - 4 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Milan
End City Milan

Destinations

Italy

Cities & Attractions

Lake Como Milan St. Moritz

Activities

Culture Hiking History

N/A
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Trip Includes

  • Double occupancy accommodations with private baths;
  • Meals as noted in the daily itinerary;
  • Bilingual guide/leadership;
  • Luggage transportation;
  • All transportation including trains, ferries and buses as per the itinerary;
  • Group arrival transfer from Milan (Malpensa) Airport to Bellagio on Day 1.

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Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Bellagio on Lake Como.

Meet your trip leader at the Milan, Italy, Malpensa (MXP) airport at 2pm. A private transfer from Malpensa to Bellagio is provided. Bellagio is one of the most charming villages of Lake Como, or Lago di Como, in the Italian Lake District. Located in the middle of the ancient glacier lake, the village provides amazing views of both branches of the Y-shaped lake and the pre-Alps. The Mediterranean-type climate is perfect for bougainvillea, olive and lemon trees, as well as elegant lakeside gardens and villas, which have long inspired visiting poets and painters of the romanticism period. After checking into our lakeside hotel, we will have a gentle walk through the historical center of Bellagio and the small fisherman village of Pescallo before making our way to the 19th century Villa Melzi Botanical Garden. Enjoy a welcome dinner discovering the ancient recipes of the lake. We spend the next three nights in Bellagio at a lovingly restored 17th-century lakefront hotel. Dinner included.

Transfer: 1.5 hours; Walking: 2 hours.

Day 2: Follow the “Pilgrim Path”—one of the lake's historical coastal pathways.
This morning we board a ferry for a short ride to Varenna, a picturesque village with brightly painted houses and a medieval castle. Setting out through olive tree terraced fields, we soon reach the Castle of Vezio, which is now a bird of prey breeding, nursing and training center. We continue our hike on the historical Pilgrim Path which links the Alps to Milan, and arrive in Bellano. We take time to admire the Santi Nazaro e Celso, a Romanesque church built in 1348 AD with beautiful rose windows and frescoes of the Lombard school. After lunch we return to Bellagio by ferry. The late afternoon is free time to relax or a swim in the lake. Tonight we head to a restaurant in the forest to taste the typical food of the mountains surrounding the lake, such as Pizzoccheri and toc, a polenta and cheese dish. All meals included.

Hiking: 5 miles, 4.5 hours; elevation gain/loss: 1,280'.

Day 3: Climb the peak of Mount San Primo and get a birds-eye view of Lake Como.
We begin our day at the Madonna del Ghisallo Church, home of the Patron Saint of Cyclists and a huge collection of historic cycling memorabilia. We then transfer to the base of Mount San Primo and begin hiking through a centenary beech forest and past an alpine farm that yields local milk and butter. We are soon rewarded with panoramic views of the rugged limestone cliffs of the Grigne Mountains. Upon reaching the peak of Mount San Primo (5570'), we admire the views of Y-shaped, glacier-formed Lake Como. Weather permitting, you might see the sparkle of the tallest buildings of Milan to the west. Our afternoon highlight is a tasting of wines and cheeses of the Valtellina Valley, which is tomorrow's destination. Dinner is on your own tonight, providing the opportunity to experience the local fish, risotto, osso buco or other specialties. Breakfast and lunch included.

Transfers: 40 minutes; Hiking 8 miles, 6 hours; Elevation gain 1300', Elevation loss 2300'.

Day 4: Ride the Bernina Express, the highest rail in Europe, to St. Moritz, Switzerland.
Let's head to the Swiss Alps! After a short ferry ride on the lake we drive to the Italian town of Tirano, located in the heart of the Valtellina Valley. The Bernina Express is considered the highest rail in Europe and arguably offers one of the most beautiful rail trips in the world. Our journey starts at Poschiavo Lake, passing through tunnels and crossing suspension bridges over bold gorges before arriving at the face of the Piz Palu Glacier. This is just the beginning of our discovery of the Bernina Mountain Group. We cross over the Bernina Pass at 7600' and reach the famous resort town of St. Moritz, Switzerland (6089'), surrounded by glacial lakes and lush pine wood of the Engadine Valley. St. Moritz is home to the 1928 and 1948 Winter Olympics and owes its original fame to its therapeutic springs which were visited by summer spa guests as early as the middle ages. The harmony of the upper Engadin landscape with approximately 90 mountain lakes and dramatic glacier-capped mountains is a mecca for hikers and climbers. This afternoon we enjoy a moderate hike up to the fabulous Lej da Staz (Lake Staz). Overnight in St. Moritz the next three nights. All meals included.

Transfer: 1 hour 45 minutes (by vehicle); 2 hours 15 minutes (by train); Hiking: ~2 miles; 2 hours; Elevation gain/loss: 650'.

Day 5: Hike to the top of Alp Suvretta overlooking four alpine lakes.
We hike in the footsteps of the 19th century painter Giovanni Segantini, one of the most famous artists in Europe in the late 19th century and known as the Van Gogh of the Alps. Departing from our hotel, our path leads us to Alp Suvretta in the Bernina mountain range. An opening in the peaks will reveal some of the most important shapes and silhouettes in the legendary history of mountaineering including the Piz Bernina and the Biancograt ridge of Piz Scercen. In the valley below, the colors of the lakes and ice melt into one as we look out over four alpine Engadina lakes. Returning to St. Moritz this afternoon, we visit the museum dedicated to Giavanni Segantini to view his masterpieces. Tonight's dinner is on your own; your guide will suggest restaurants for a hearty meal of traditional Swiss mountain specialties such as spätzle, cheese fondue or Rösti und Spiegel mit Käse gratiniert (Swiss potato dish with sunny-side up eggs and cheese). Italian influences abound and the pizza or gnocchi will not disappoint. Breakfast and lunch included.

Hiking: 5 miles; 5.5 hours; Elevation gain/loss: 1,968'.

Day 6: Explore the Roseg Valley and enjoy epic views of the Bernina Piz.
A transfer by public bus brings us to Pontresina (5,922'), the gateway to Roseg Valley, one of the most beautiful valleys of the Alps. We hike beside the Rosegbach River past European larch, stone pine and mountain pine to the Hotel Roseg Gletscher (6,562'). In the distance, the first glaciers of the Bernina group reveal themselves: the Caputschin, the Piz Roseg and Piz Glousciant. From the hotel we hike towards the Chamanna Tschierva mountain hut (8,441'), enjoying exquisite views in all directions. Biancograt, the legendary ice ridge to the summit of Bernina, and a sea of 13,000' snowcapped mountains provide a backdrop for our picnic lunch. Our hike returns us to the Hotel Roseg Gletscher, and from here we take a one-hour horse-drawn carriage ride down the valley to Pontresina. We train or bus back to St. Moritz in time for dinner. All meals included.

Transfers: 25 minutes (each way); Horse and carriage ride: 1 hour; Hiking: 11 miles, 6 hours; elevation gain: 1,879'; elevation loss: 2,519'.

Day 7: Discover the ancient town of Chiavenna, and take a guided walking tour of Milan.
Bidding farewell to Switzerland and the Alps of Engadin, we depart for Milan. Our scenic, sometime winding drive includes the 5955' Maloja Pass, ancient stone villages and green hillsides. We'll stop at the Cascata dell'Acqua Fraggia, an incredible 328' waterfall that so impressed Leonardo da Vinci, he commented on it in his "Codex Atlanticus". We continue to Chiavenna, a fundamental crossroads for trade and cultural exchange, and known by the Romas as Clavenna or "key". Wandering the narrow cobblestone streets that border the Mera River, we make our way to the Collegiata di San Lorenzo, which consists of a 5th-century church, baptistery, and cloister with bell tower. Following lunch in a grotto (cave) that's been converted into a restaurant, we continue to Milan for a walking tour of the city. We'll see the Duomo, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Castello Sforzesco and La Scala. Tonight we raise a toast to our Italian and Swiss adventure, and "salute" our newfound friends. All meals included.

Transfer: 3.5 hours; Walking: 4 miles; 3 hours.

Day 8: Our adventure ends in Milan.
After breakfast, transfer on your own to Milan's Malpensa or Linate airport, or continue your travels in Italy. Arrivederci! Breakfast included.

Note on Itinerary

Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control including weather and terrain conditions.

Availability

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Price From $ 3,999
Price Per Day: $ 500 per day
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  • Single Supplement (Single Occupancy): $ 599

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Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

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9 REI Adventures Travel Reviews & Ratings

100%
4.4 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 7
Great 1
Average 0
Disappointing 0
Terrible 1
Value
4.4
Guide
4.4
Activities
4.4
Lodging
4.4
Transportation
4.4
Meals
4.4

Lake Como & Swiss Alps Hiking

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Trip of a lifetime

5.0
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I loved this trip. The equipment was in very good condition. The fjords are awe strikingly beautiful. The water is clear and the Norwegian people were incredibly nice and hospitable.

Our guides were top notch. They worked very hard to make our trip the best it could be for us. Lots of personal service from REI Adventures. I have to look back at my pictures to make sure I actually took the trip. It was a life altering experience for me.
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Great way to see a country with a group

4.0
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Value4.0
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Lodging4.0
Transportation4.0
Meals4.0
REI's tour groups are a blast. You're able to see much more of the country than you would if you were on your own. The trips are very organized and you never feel bored or too rushed. There's a wide variety of tours to pick from based on region and activity.
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Details

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 14

Trip ID#:

LakSwiReiAdv

Trip Excludes

  • Air transportation to Italy;
  • Transfer to airport on Day 8;
  • Dinner on Day 3 and Day 5;
  • Optional guide gratuities;
  • Insurance of any kind;
  • Alcoholic beverages except wine at wine tasting on Day 3;
  • Laundry or internet fees and other items of a personal nature.

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