Holidaymakers who yearn for natural wonderlands and fresh air can now enjoy the pristine beauty of the Italian Lakes up close and personal thanks to the new Lakes, Gardens and Majestic Mountains Tour from Hedonistic Hiking.
This family-run company has all the ingredients for the perfect hiking holiday: a passion for the best local food, an appreciation of fine wine and, of course, a love of life on foot through the great outdoors – and now its exploration of three of the lakes of northern Italy promises the scenic highlights of Lake Como, Lake Maggiore and lesser known Lake Orta .
The tour, set amid the magnificent backdrop of the snow-capped peaks of the Italian Alps, begins in the classical city of Milan with a guided visit to Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting of the Last Supper.
Over the next seven nights luxury accommodation is based in three beautiful, bespoke hotels, two of which are located right on the lakes, while expert guiding is offered by Hedonistic Hiking’s husband and wife team. Mick is a professional chef and Jackie is an expert in Italian art and culture, so guests are assured of a full and informed appreciation of la dolce vita.
The first three nights of the tour are spent in a renovated Liberty-style villa in Brunate, a hamlet perched above Lake Como. Every day offers something new and exciting as guests visit hamlets only accessible by foot, discover fascinating geological formations, climb remote peaks and lunch in mountain refuges.
Next is Lake Maggiore and easy hiking on well-graded trails, a sumptuous lunch in an alpine restaurant and a stay in a luxurious Grand Hotel Majestic on the shores of the lake. The following morning a private boat whisks guests to Isola Bella for a guided visit of the magnificent seventeenth-century villa and gardens of the Borromeo family, before lunch at a lakeside restaurant on Isola Pescatore.
A cable-car ride next day is followed by a hike up on a well-graded trail to the summit of Monte Mottarone, where guests are treated to a picnic on the slopes of the summit with breathtaking views out over the lakes and beyond. That night is spent in the luxurious four-star Hotel San Rocco on Lake Orta.
Next morning a private boat takes guests to Omegna and the tranquil trails through through woods and villages on the west side of the lake, with a picnic en route and finally a boat for the tiny island of San Giulio with its beautiful frescoed basilica. The last evening has a fabulous final dinner back at the hotel before returning to Milan Malpensa Airport next morning.
In all there are five days of walking and one free day, with a variety of routes incorporating farm and woodland tracks, mountain trails, through vineyards and along quiet tarmac roads. There are some long hiking days on this adventurous tour; however support vehicles also accompany every trek to ensure guests never feel they need go beyond their personal comfort zone.
Prices start from €2695 per person. Single supplement €275. Flights start from £154 return to Milan with Easyjet. The price includes 7 nights’ accommodation in three different hotels, all meals including wine, with the exception of dinner on Day 5, which is at leisure, gourmet meals in a variety of superb local restaurants, museum visits, food/wine tastings as per the itinerary, support vehicle, enabling you to walk as little or as much of the trail as you please, transport to/from Milan at the start and end of the holiday, luggage transported for you so all you need to carry is a small backpack with water etc. For a full description the itinerary visit www.hedonistichiking.com or call Hedonistic Hiking on 01858 565 148.