Published on: 20 March 2013 | Last updated: 26 December 2019
This route based on the Laghi di Lombardia route prepared by the FIAB (Federazione Italiana Amici della Bicicletta), although it has now disappeared from the Bicitalia website. It’s a great option if you’re looking for an accessible route that links the major Italian lakes. It’s particularly valuable in providing a link between the Lago di Como and the Lago di Garda - a densely populated area where without local knowledge it would be easy to go wrong.
The route also takes you through the cities of Brescia and Bergamo both places that are often overlooked but are well worth a visit. As well as the major lakes the route also takes in a number of minor lakes as well as the wine country of the Franciacorte.
I would suggest using this route as the basis for planning a tour of the lakes - on the pages on the individual sections I have suggested options for loops and detours.
Map and altitude profile
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The route passes within easy cycling distance of the Brescia, Bergamo and Milano Malpensa airports.
The route provides a valuable link between the Lago di Garda and the Lago di Como. After Como it heads further south - I have suggested a tour of the western lakes which offers an alternative. This route is hillier and on busier roads, but you see more of the lakes.
The route connects with:
- the Ciclopista del Sole (eurovelo 7) at the Mincio river near Peschiera del Garda (link opens in new window)
- the Ticino cycleway at Sesto Calende
- the Oglio cycleway
- the Adda cycleway at Garlate near the Lago di Como
In each section I have made suggestions for day-rides. I think the best way to use this route is as the basis onto which you can add loops and detours.
When to go
The best months to do this route would be June and September. This route is at relatively low altitudes so it will be hot in July and August.
Maps to print out or view offline
About the maps
The maps are in two versions: A4 portrait format - for printing and maybe also for viewing on an iPad, and A5 for smaller tablets and smartphones. (A4 and A5 are international paper sizes).
Links open in new windows unless you ‘save as’ etc.
Lakes of Lombardia and Piemonte gps files;
(.zip file containing 5 gpx track files)
Italy Points of Interest
POIs are like waypoints, but while you can usually only store a limited number of waypoints on a device, you can store thousands of POIs. These files include information about campsites and hostels, bike shops, train stations, drinking water sources as well as warnings for tunnels and roads where bikes are banned. Please check the ReadMe file for instructions. Updated April 2018. The file format is only compatible with Garmin GPSes .
Places to stay
Hotels and B&Bs
There’s a huge choice of accommodation around the lakes and in the main towns (Brescia, Bergamo, Como and Varese). Outside of the peak season, you shouldn’t have any problems finding hotel accommodation.
Find and book places to stay with Booking.com
Booking.com area pages:
About these links
If you use these links to book accommodation Booking.com will pay me a small part of their commission. This helps support the costs of producing this site.
I use Booking.com to find and book places to stay when there are no campsites in the area. The large majority of hotels and many hostels are now on ‘Booking’. I like it because it means that I can get almost-instant confirmation. The rating system is also a reliable guide to the quality of the accommodation.
I’ve never had a problem finding places to keep my bike —even if it’s a cupboard or store room. I always use the ‘special requests’ field on the booking form to tell the hotel that I’m travelling with a bike, which gives them the opportunity to let me know if there’s a problem.
Many properties offer free cancellation but it’s a good idea to check the conditions as these vary from property to property.
Campsites and hostels
There are plenty of campsites along the way and a few hostels.
Transport and services
The route has excellent rail connections, at the start and finish point and a pretty much all the way along, and passes within easy cycling distance of the Brescia, Bergamo and Milano Malpensa airports.