The many scenic glacial lakes sprinkled throughout this area, sometimes called the “Little Finland of Italy”, draw walkers and sightseers from around the world. Our tour combines walking along some of the smallest lakes in the locale with walks above the largest, and some say, the most beautiful lake in Italy, Lago di Garda. Since Roman times visitors have flocked to Lake Garda, to enjoy the combination of snow-capped mountains, steep granite cliffs, emerald water, colourful villages, lush vegetation and the mild, Mediterranean climate. Walking in these gorgeous surroundings is a pure delight. Cable cars will drop us high above the “tree line”, where we’ll have heavenly, unobstructed views for miles in all directions. The lakes we’ll see are crisp, clean and soothing to the soul. At times we’ll trek through lovely meadows with unusual wild flowers, accompanied by the strangely pleasing sounds of melodious cowbells.

Day 1: At 11:00 AM we’ll welcome you at the train station in Trento and then transfer to our family run, 4-star hotel in Madonna di Campiglio. It is a beautiful, one-hour ride up to Madonna, located at an altitude of 1500 meters in the Brenta Dolomites. Madonna is an attractive village, well known for its winter skiing, many fine hotels, restaurants, art exhibitions and concerts. After lunch in the village we’ll start our first walk up to the Lake Nambino (there are 297 lakes in Trentino thus this region is often called the “Little Finland of Italy”). The hike up through silent pinewoods is pleasantly shaded. Later by contrast we’ll reach the open, crystal clear lake surrounded by meadows and high mountains. Finally we’ll walk back to Madonna over a ridge with nice views on the valley and through Alpine meadows to the sounds of clanging cowbells. Tonight, in our hotel’s attractively decorated dining room, we’ll enjoy our first mouth watering Italian dinner.

Day 2: This morning we’ll transfer to the cable car or “telecabina” for a thrilling ride up to 2100 meters, already above the tree line, to begin our varied, exciting walk. We’ll hike on a stony path on a ridge with breathtaking views on the valley below. On our left we’ll behold some of the soaring mountain cliffs in the Brenta Group. After a hearty lunch in one of the many well-stocked huts located in this area we’ll make our way back down to the valley. The Alpine meadows at this height brim with colorful flowers and our trail also weaves through a remarkable set of sparkling waterfalls. We’re certain you’ll find this one of the most beautiful and varied walks you’ve ever done in a single day. A cool beer in the village is a well-deserved reward at the end of a fantastic day!

Day 3: Although we could walk up today, it is nice to get a little help from the “Funivia 5 Laghi” (the cable car to the 5 lakes) that will bring us up to the mountain range on the west side of Madonna (yesterday we were on the east side) at 2123 meters. The trail that starts here connects five beautiful little lakes surrounded by granite outcroppings. Again there are nicely spaced Alpine huts for a snack or lunch and when we leave the high altitudes we’ll descend to Madonna along a delightful brook, the Sarca di Nambino. Another great day of walking with spectacular views!

Day 4: This easy day gives us time to rest a little and to explore Riva del Garda with ample time. In the morning we shuttle to Riva by minivan. Again it is a very nice ride down past several pretty mountain villages to the lake and our splendid, 4-star hotel. Lago di Garda is the largest and, some say, the most beautiful lake in ItalySince Roman times people have been drawn to this long, narrow, glacial lake with its lush vegetation and mild climate. From our hotel we’ll stroll over the boulevard to the quaint center of Riva with its charming small harbor full of floating swans and bobbing ducks. There we’ll admire Riva’s historic castle, impressive clock tower and churches from various time periods. There are many good places for lunch here and from the terrace of your restaurant the views on the steep granite cliffs are truly sensational. This afternoon is for serious lounging in the swimming pool, reading a book in the garden or lolling on the beach, looking out over the shimmering, turquoise water. We’ll dine tonight in the elegant hotel restaurant and later you may enjoy some jazz in our hotel’s popular piano bar.

Day 5: Early this morning we’ll leave for Malcesine, another picturesque lakeside village, beloved and often written about by the German writer Goethe. Today we’ll walk for about 5 hours, weather permitting, in the high Monte Baldo area. This locale is a favorite for hang gliders and mountain bikers so it is good to start early. A modern “Funivia” will whisk us up the imposing height of the Monte Baldo. First we’ll walk to the lookout point on the edge of the ridge and “drink in” the incredible view down on the narrow northern part of the lake and the villages Riva and Torbole. Then we begin our walk to the Monte Altissimo, the highest mountain of the Monte Baldo Chain, impressive in every season. We’ll encounter beautiful, old red birches in the woods and the mountain meadows are filled with unusual Alpine flowers. After three hours we’ll reach the top of the Monte Altissimo and the panoramic view all around is spectacular. Lunch again in one of the Alpine huts, before we slowly descend to the Bacco Tratto Spin, the end point of the cable car. There is time in the afternoon to wander in the narrow, medieval streets of Malcesine or visit the sturdy Scaligeri castle before we return to Riva. Dinner is on your own tonight in one of Riva’s many fine restaurants.

Day 6: A relaxing morning boat ride over the lake will bring us to Salo in the southern part of Lago di Garda. Europeans consider Salo luxurious and “upscale” because of its prominent boulevard along the lake, fancy boutiques and galleries. We’ll enjoy a cappuccino in one of the many outdoor café’s before we start our 4-hour walk past some imposing villas with beautiful gardens on our way up to Madonna del Rio. The landscape here looks dry and Mediterranean but a little later we’ll pass by the hamlet Milordi, known for its century old chestnut trees that the owners of the land cultivated here generations ago. Soon we’ll be treated to a beautiful view on the Bay of Salo. Next we’ll pass by San Bartolomeo before we commence our steep descent to Salo where we then transfer back to Riva for our scrumptious farewell dinner.

Day 7: Group transfer after breakfast to the train station in Verona where you can catch a train to Florence, Rome or Milan or consider spending a few nights in enchanting Sirmione on the peninsula in the southern part of the Lago di Garda.

The tour is limited to 10 people!

Highlights: walking in the Adamello-Brenta Nature Park surrounded by snow-capped mountains; dramatic and sweeping views down to Lago di Garda; three nights in welcoming Madonna di Campiglio, one of the most appreciated of the high mountain resorts of this alpine region; three nights in historic Riva del Garda with its awe inspiring views on the Dolomites soaring above it; wonderful 4-star hotels with gourmet food and both with a swimming pool; also a private beach on the lake in the hotel in Riva.

Tour Begins: at 11:00 AM at the train station in Trento. We suggest that you arrive in lively and under appreciated Trento at least one day early. It’s a wonderful small city we’re sure you’ll really enjoy. We can especially recommend the Accademia Hotel, a 5-minute walk from the station. Trento is easily reached by Euro City train from Milan in 2 hours and 42 min. or from Rome in 5 hours and 37 min. For last minute train schedules visit the website of the Italian Railways.

Tour Concludes: in the morning after breakfast of day 7 with a group transfer to the train station in Verona. Here you’ll find an easy connection to Florence, Milan or Rome.

Hotels: Our peaceful hotel in Madonna di Campiglio offers us rooms with a magnificent view on the Brenta Range. The hotel has a nice pool and after our hike or swim it’s possible to order a massage. The gourmet food is lovingly prepared and elegantly presented. A manicured park with fascinating subtropical vegetation surrounds our tasteful and sophisticated modern hotel in Riva. Food is superb. Once again you can swim and lounge at the hotel’s private beach or the attractive swimming pool.

Tour price includes 6 nights of double occupancy lodging in luxury 4-star, air- conditioned hotels with private facilities each night. Also included: 6 breakfasts, 5 dinners, expert leader service, all transportation during the tour; baggage handling and all taxes and gratuities for the hotel and restaurant portions of the tour.

Not included in the tour price are airfare, alcoholic and bar beverages, lunches, one dinner, gratuities for the guide, transportation other than scheduled VGT transfers and other items of a personal nature.

Weather and Climate: In July and August the average daytime temperature is 70 F; it might be cooler up in the mountains but most paths will be snow free. Please note that the itinerary sometimes may have to change due to weather conditions.

Walking: The average distance is 5-9 miles per day. The terrain is moderate to challenging and includes walking on narrow, gravel and stone footpaths. Well fitting, supportive “broken in”, hiking boots are very strongly recommended for this tour, not because it involves dangerous mountain hiking but because they give a better grip on the occasionally loose, rocky surface.