• The Best Ways to See the Italian Lakes

    <p><b>VACATION LIKE AN EMPEROR IN THE ITALIAN LAKES</b>. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be an emperor, look no further than the Italian lakes. Since the Roman emperors, these <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italianlakes/" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: none;">gracious waterside resorts</span></a> have drawn visitors. The climate is mild, loaded with the vibrant colors of alpine wildflowers and lush semi-tropical gardens. With views of mountaintop meadows and palm tree-fringed waters, nowhere else does stunning scenery, mellow air and rich history come together with such dramatic results. Read on to get the inside scoop on the best lakes, views, walks, visits and food the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italianlakes/" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: none;">Italian Lake District</span></a> has to offer.<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italianlakes/" target="_blank">LAKE LUGANO</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italianlakes" target="_blank"><img alt="Lake Lugano" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bmRq&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jZle" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>Nestled between Lake Maggiore and Lake Como, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italianlakes/" target="_blank">Lake Lugano </a>is the smallest but it does not lack in beauty nor charm. Nearby, Mount Bre is perched above Lake Lugano in Ticino, the Italian speaking area of Switzerland. Stroll through the cobbled streets and pastel-colored neoclassical palazzi. One of our favorite highlights is a visit to the most famous ornate church in Lugano, Santa Maria degli Angioli.<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italianlakes/" target="_blank">LAKE ORTA</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italianlakes" target="_blank"><img alt="Lake Orta" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bmRq&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jZly" style="height: 354px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>The quaint village of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italianlakes/" target="_blank">Orta San Giulio</a> is one of the most picturesque corners of Italy. While here, follow the narrow, cobbled streets through Orta as they wind up and past colorful houses with ornate balconies. We recommend traveling across Lake Orta to the islet of San Giulio for a visit to its 1000-year-old basilica and an exploration around the charming island. <br> <br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italianlakes/" target="_blank">LAKE COMO</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italianlakes" target="_blank"><img alt="Lake Como" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bmRq&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jZm3" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>Stroll through the historic town of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italianlakes/" target="_blank">Como </a>and admire the incredible architecture—a mixture of Renaissance Italian and 19th century British. A scenic ride on the funicular will take you to the nearby mountain village of Brunate, situated above century-old olive groves. Ramble along footpaths to the panoramic lookout, where you’ll be treated to an astonishing view of Lake Como below.<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italianlakes/" target="_blank">LAKE MAGGIORE</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italianlakes" target="_blank"><img alt="Lake Maggiore" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bmRq&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jZlt" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>Our favorite views of<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italianlakes/" target="_blank"> Lake Maggiore</a> is from Someraro, a village that clings like a balcony overlooking the magnificent body of water. We highly recommend taking a boat ride to the Borromean Island of Isola Bella—where one of Italy’s wealthiest families built a series of palaces and gardens in the 17th-century. Bellissimo!    </p>

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  • Horseback riding, Bryce Canyon

    5 Fun Ways to Travel

    <h2>As much as we love walking along scenic footpaths, we’re big fans of other forms of  locomotion, too — especially when they let us see the region from a different angle.</h2>   <p>Check out these fun ways to travel that we take advantage of on any tour we can.</p> <p><b>FUNICULAR.<br><br><img alt="Funicular" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7ln&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rOC" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></b><br> </p> <p><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italianlakes/" target="_blank">Italian Lake Retreats Cultural Walking Adventure</a></b><br>The lake recedes as you glide up the mountainside from Como to the village of Brunate. At the top, we <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italy/" target="_blank">walk amid private villas and the breathtaking views</a> stretch to Switzerland.</p> <h3><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/dates/" target="_blank">DOWNLOAD AN ITINERARY FOR SWITZERLAND OR ANOTHER DESTINATION YOU LOVE!</a></h3> <p><b>KAYAK.<br><br><img alt="Kayaking in Alaska" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7ln&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rOM" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></b><br> </p> <p><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaskafamily/" target="_blank">Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula Multisport Family Journey</a></b><br>Paddle beside <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaska-tours/" target="_blank">sea otters, sea lions and past three massive glaciers</a> that spill right into the waters of Thumb Cove, an area locals call “Little Switzerland.”</p> <p><b>CAMEL.<br><br><img alt="Riding a camel in Morocco" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7ln&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rOR" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></b><br> </p> <p><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco/" target="_blank">Fés to Marrakesh Cultural Walking Adventure</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank">Climb aboard camels for a memorable ride</a> to the soaring red sand dunes of Merzouga, the highest in the world, and arrive just in time to watch the sun set over the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank">Moroccan desert</a>.</p> <p><b>BOAT.<br><br><img alt="Whitewater rafting in Costa Rica" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7ln&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rOW" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></b><br> </p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costarica/" target="_blank"><b>Costa Rica Cultural Walking Adventure</b></a><br>Opt for a thrilling whiter-water rafting <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costarica/" target="_blank">adventure through the Costa Rican rainforest</a>, or explore thick stands of mangrove by canoe or wooden river cruiser.</p> <p><b>BIKE.</b><br><img alt="Group of women bike riding" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7ln&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rOg" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/switzerland-family/" target="_blank">Swiss Alps Multisport Family Journey</a></b><br>The sound of the Simme River is our soundtrack as we cruise along a gentle, slightly downhill path on mountain bikes, before boarding a train for the return trip.</p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/catalog/" target="_blank">CLICK HERE TO REQUEST A CATALOG AND READ MORE ABOUT CUSTOM TRAVEL AROUND THE WORLD!</a></p> <p><b>WHAT SHOES DO I NEED?</b></p> <p>Although our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/walkingtours/" target="_blank">Cultural Walking Adventures</a> feature daily walks through beautiful destinations, that doesn’t mean that we’re all about making the miles. We’re all about making the most of the miles. A pair of sturdy leather or synthetic walking shoes or walking sandals should serve you just fine on most Classic Journeys trips.</p> <p> </p>

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  • Italian Lakes water view

    The Italian Lakes are Spectacular from Every Angle

    <h2>“Even the views have views!”</h2>   <p>Fresh home from <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italianlakes/" target="_blank" title="Italian Lakes tour">a week in the Italian Lakes</a>, a friend complained to me that his new digital camera wasn’t up to the job. “In panorama mode, I push the shutter button and sweep the camera from the left to right. It takes a sequence of pictures and stitches them together to form one long shot. But whenever I tried it on Lake Como, I ran out of time before I ran out of view!”<br><br>Gampiero, a longtime local guide for Classic Journeys, has heard it before. “Perhaps,” he says, “your friend looks too much for the big picture and not enough for the small one.” It’s not so much a riddle as it is his philosophy of the Italian Lakes.<br><br>There’s no denying that gorgeous grandiosity is the Lake Region’s calling card. Snow-tipped mountains “jump down into the water,” as Giampiero puts it. Ribbons of deep, azure water ripple into infinity. Glamorous manor houses tiptoe up to the water’s edge. The mild climate caresses an emerald explosion of gardens and forests. You’ll have to choose your own camp as to whether you prefer to take your golden sunrise with an espresso or your long sunsets with a bottle of wine. Either way, you’ll soak it all in waterside (and a bipartisan vote for both is absolutely the best way to go).<br><br><img alt="Mountain View of Italian Lakes" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7mU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oxn" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <h3><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italianlakes/" target="_blank" title="Italian Lakes tour">EXPLORE THE ITALIAN LAKES WITH OUR 7 DAY/6 NIGHT CULTURAL WALKING ADVENTURE.</a></h3> <p>“My heart nearly stopped,” says <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italianlakes/" target="_blank" title="Italian Lakes tour">Classic Journeys guest Cindy Gurmann, as she remembers her first moments in the town of Bellagio</a>. “Every view was what life should be all about. It’s all so natural and perfect that whatever ails you melts away.<br><br>“It’s also a very intimate place; a quiet place,” she says. “One of the nicest parts of the day was lounging on the patio after our afternoon walk with the water lapping and the birds chirping.” There’s no maneuvering required for that ringside seat either—both Classic Journeys hotels and virtually all of the restaurants we dine in are lakeside.<br><br><img alt="Hotel View of Italian Lakes" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7mU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oxx" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>Despite the IMAX-ready scenery, many visitors remember the human scale with equal affection. The sliver of habitable land that rims the Italian Lakes has always limited the population, creating a closely-knit community. And the lakes—including Como, Maggiore and Orta—are not exactly on the way to anywhere. They are destinations unto themselves. Even the plague, though it haunted every other corner of Europe, never arrived here.<br> </p> <p>When he leads walks into the hills outside of town, Giampiero knows that personal encounters will be warm, inviting and absolutely sincere. “On one walk, an elderly couple waved us aside with great smiles and many questions,” he says, adding that the wife was 98 and her husband was 100. “They must never have known a stranger,” he says. “Every time we pass through now, I know the <i>signora</i> will wave us over to talk.”<br><br><img alt="Group photo on Italian Lakes tour" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7mU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oy7" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>Cindy recalls visiting the home of a guide’s mother-in-law. “Her small house had drop-dead views,” she says. “I wanted to talk to her about living in such an amazing place, but she was much more interested in the comings and goings of George Clooney.” If that doesn’t sound like a step into small-town life, I don’t know what does. (On a boat ride to Como town, the group passes the Clooney estate. They say that a white boat at the dock means he’s home.)<br><br>At even closer range, Giampiero encourages visitors to stop and smell the camellias. The lakes are famous for their lordly gardens, from the English-style grounds of Villa Melzi to the grand-tiered confection on Isola Bella, practically swarming with white peacocks, statuary and topiaries. This is what Giampiero means when he says, “Even the views have views.” Anywhere here, even if you turn your back to the lakes, there is something that amazes the eye.<br><br><img alt="Giampiero smelling flowers" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7mU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oyC" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italianlakes/" target="_blank" title="Italian Lakes tour">“A tour is like life,” Giampiero says. </a>It has its indelible experiences and grand-operatic vistas, but most of all it is a collection of wonderful little moments.” A tasting of syrupy sweet <i>balsamico</i> here. A come- talk-to-me <i>ciao</i> from a mamma leaning on her windowsill. After her week in the Italian Lakes, Cindy imagines that “nobody here wakes up with a headache or an ulcer”. True or not, what a remarkable place it is that inspires such a view of life.</p>

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