Italian Lakes Cycle Challenge Picture 1
Italian Lakes Cycle Challenge Picture 1

Next departure:  Please Call for Details

Best Time of Year: March - October

Max alt:  850m

Dist:  410km

Min age:  18

Duration:  4

The Italian Lakes Cycle Challenge

Bike Adventure

Welcome to the Italian Lakes challenge. We have 3 and a half days to explore the lakes and surrounding mountains. Have your, tyres pumped, chain oiled and camera charged - you are in for a beautiful ride!

Basing ourselves in Varese we are ideally suited to visit a different iconic lake each day. Aiming for early arrivals into Milan Malpenese airport, we'll transfer from there to our base,  the Palace Grand Hotel in Verese, assemble bikes, get into our cycle kit and head out for a short leg loosener aroound Lake Varese. With the obligitory gelato stop, of course!! 

Arrivals day - Shake-down ride: a gentle lakeside loop of 35k around Lake Varese, with a stop in Gavirate, at 22km)  for ice-creams

Ride Day 1: Our first full day's ride (125km as standard) takes us along the shores of Lake Maggiore, but first there is the small matter of Mount Pian Nave and Mont La Taggia to contend with!! Not to fear:  there is a flatter route option for those who prefer it.   A short ferry ride over the lake (please have a few euros in your back pocket for this) and then we ride down the western shores of Maggiore we head back to our accomodation via Lakes Monate and Verase. 

Distance: 123km, elevation gain approx. 1000m 

Coffee 1: Luino , at 28km

Lunch: Bavena, at 60km

Coffee 2: Monate, at 105km

Ride Day 2: On our second day, we will venture eastwards out of Verese, and to the infamous Lake Como. The standrad ride route is 133km - or there's shorter but hillier ride option.  We will take a breif coffee stop in the town of Como itself, after whcih we shall ride the south shore up to Bellagio, for an early lunch . Following refreshments, we will again have options; either to vist the chapel of the patron saint of cycling (Madonna del Ghisallo) and take the mountainous route back to Como, or to continue along the lake shore looping back to Como via a slightly longer but flat and oh so beautiful route. Pasing through Como for the second time, we'll stop for an afternoon coffee and then the last 25km or so is a little more undulating back over to our accomodation. 

Distance: 133km, elevation gain approx. 2000m 

Coffee 1: Como, at 28km

Lunch: Bellagio, at 58km

Coffee 2: Como, at 105km

Ride Day 3: Our final day on the bikes (120km) will see us heading North East towards lake Lugano, and brefily leaving Italy! Soon after crossing the Swiss boarder we have our first glimpse of the lake, we shall head back over the border into the Italian town of Lugano for a coffee stop, and then continue rounding the shore of the lake to Osteno for lunch. After lunch - the road departs the lake side and for the next 10km gently rises up and over the Pellio, the highest point on the trip! You are of course rewarded with the descent back down to the most  southern shore of the lake, and then a flat ride for our final return to our accomodation. It's then time to pack the bikes and make our way back to the airport ...for a well earned rest on the flight home! 

Distance: 120km, elevation gain approx. 1700m 

Coffee 1: Lugano, at 50km

Lunch: Osteno 74km, at 58km

Coffee 2: Melano, at 96km





Day 0 - Early arrivals into Milan Malpenesa Airport - Transfer to Varese - assemble bikes ready for a gentle leg-warmer ride around Lake Varese

Day 1 - Lake Maggiore Ride

Day 2 - Lake Como Ride

Day 3 - Lake Lugano  Ride 

Day 4 Transfer back to Milan Malpenesa for flights 



Route Map


We will base ourselves at a 4-star hotel in the center of Varese




What is a Level 3.5 Cycling Challenge Like?

These challenge rides are either longer, with more ascent, or span several days. In the case of single day events, you can expect up to 10 hours cycling. In the case of a multi day ride, you can expect lower daily durations - but of course - the effort is sustained over a longer period. You need to be a keen cyclist for these events, and to enjoy training, and to ride regularly. If the ride is outside the EU, it is likely to be easier in terms of the physical riding, however, you will need to be more resilient - due to more basic living conditions (in the case of Asia / Africa especially)


How Fit Do I need to be to join a Level 3.5 ‘Bike Ride’?

You need to have good endurance for these events. You must be used to doing long rides in the countryside - 6 hours + . You should be doing regular exercise - with some serious cycle training. Your typical comfortable cycling speed will be at least 22-24 km/hr, and you should be able to cycle at high speed for up to 1 hour or 25 km. You may also be concentrating on other types of exercise - but for longer periods of time (ie sessions in excess of 1.5 hrs.) - however cycling is the best preparation (obviously!)


Special Notes


Included In Trip


Cycle Guides

Support Vehicles



Excluded From Trip

Flights to and from Milan Malpenesa airport

Pre / Post event accommodation ( if required) 




Equipment Required

Kit lists specific to your trip dates and location will be issued upon enquiry...below is our guide advice to give an idea of what you should bring on a multi--day ride in Europe

Bike Items
Road Bike / Hybrid Bike (with puncture resistant tyres) - please call us for guidance on type of bike on a trip by trip basis
2 X Water Bottles (bladder system/cycle water bottles)
Cycling Gloves, Bike Lock, Neck Scarf, Inner Tubes*, Multi-Tool (with allen keys)*
Day Bag for support vehicle, Small Holdall (for overnight gear)
Bike Lights (front and rear, head torch can be worn)
Saddle Bag (recommended - can be used to carry asterisk* items)
Puncture Repair Kit*, Spare parts for your bike (specialist parts and spokes), Pump (suitable for your valve type)

Helmet (compulsory)
Personal Medikit  Suncream, Plasters, Vaseline, Painkillers, Sunbloc, Insect Repellant


Warm Clothing Medium Weight Softshell, Long sleeve Jersey / insulating layer Lightweight Gloves.

Cycle  Clothing
Padded Lycra Cycling Shorts, Cotton Shorts, or Long Cycling Trousers (Tights/Tracksuit Bottoms)
Short Sleeve Cycling T-Shirts (wicking type material) or Cycle Top with rear pockets
Cycling Shoes (approach shoes or sturdy traners suitable), 

Spare Shoes/Sandals for after ride

Casual Evening Wear - tracksuits, jeans, T shirts, fleece ...

Waterproof Clothing
1 Outer Fully Waterproof Jacket (gore-tex, e-vent) - comfortable to cycle in

Travel Documents, EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) Credit Cards, Cash, Local Currency, Mobile Phone, chargers, EU plug adaptor, Sunglasses
Snacks for Cycling Days (dried fruits, nuts, flapjacks, cereal bars etc)
Travel insurance (not included), Passport

Make sure you do not ‘over pack’ - bring only what is essential for the trip. It is advisable to check that your travel insurance covers the value of any expensive items of kit that you chose to bring along with you. 

A final kit list will be provided in your ‘Final Joining Instructions’ pre-departure



During the summer months we can expect dry and warm to Hot conditions. However being in the foothills of the Alps the weather can change beyond the seasonal norms. It is advisable to bring a waterproof and pair of arm warmers and leggings just in case we have unseasonable weather


Optional Extras

Bike collection and return from UK location to Varese

Bike Hire



Notes on Cycling Events

This is our standard range of Cycling Challenges in the UK, Europe and further afield. However, we offer completely tailormade itineraries to your specification. Call us to discuss! Please note that for overseas point to point cycling challenges we can transport soft cases for bike transport - but not hard cases, due to space limitations on board our support vehicles. On all our cycling events, please pack sensibly and bring a reasonably sized soft holdall type bag. To participate in an overseas Adventure Cafe challenge - you must carry Travel Insurance (to be for the activity you are participating in, and to include repatriation to the UK). Please also note that you should have a good level of cycling experience and be competent to handle your bike. We ride on roads shared with other vehicles - and you need to be able to deal with this safely.


Adventure Cafe Booking Terms and Conditions

By booking an event with Adventure Cafe, you agree to these standard terms of booking. Please ensure that you read the appropriate document for your type of event carefully.

Adventure Cafe Terms & Conditions - For all types of event

To Reserve Your Space on this Challenge

You should fill in the Google Form - linked here below, and then please call us on 01823 444 246 to advise of your payment method. We can accept card payments over the phone, or Bank Transfer. Please note that your space is not confirmed until you have received your booking receipt.

CLICK HERE: Adventure Cafe Challenge Booking Form - For Challenge Events



Guide price

£Price on enquiry



This Challenge is for exclusive group departures – please call us for more information

Event Location

Italian Lakes Cycle Challenge Picture 2
Italian Lakes Cycle Challenge Picture 2

Italian Lakes Cycle Challenge Picture 3
Italian Lakes Cycle Challenge Picture 3