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Italian Lakes advice

defridedefride Posts: 277
We've never considered the Italian Lakes before which seems as good a reason as any to take a family week or two there in the summer. Absolutely no idea about the area other than it's on the edge of the Alps so there should be plenty of good riding - but where?

Would prefer to hire a bike out there and it'd be nice to head into the mountains in the mornings. Any great spots that would offer plenty to do for young kids, bike hire and great riding nearby that you've experienced? We'd probably look to rent a place rather than camp / hotel.

All advice welcome

Posts

  • Lake Garda, the North part... around Riva del Garda, Limone or Torbole.

    otherwise Lake Como around Bellagio
  • sniper68sniper68 Posts: 2,899
    As above Lake Garda and North.
  • floreriderflorerider Posts: 1,112
    Lake Garda, the North part... around Riva del Garda, Limone or Torbole.

    otherwise Lake Como around Bellagio

    I wondered that, but the roads always seem very busy, or amI missing something?
  • I did a trip around the lakes. They are teasers as you see the alps in the distance. I think I have my route somewhere -- but I think you can just base yourself in one place & find rides. Bellagio was somewhat disappointingly tacky. But you do have that famous climb & cycling museum ghisello.
  • florerider wrote:
    Lake Garda, the North part... around Riva del Garda, Limone or Torbole.

    otherwise Lake Como around Bellagio

    I wondered that, but the roads always seem very busy, or amI missing something?

    At weekends...
  • JoostGJoostG Posts: 189
    The area around Lake Garda will be crowed in summer time. Less people visit lago d'Iseo or the very small Lago di Endine. Cycling is great, especially if you want to do some climbing. Everywhere you can ride unknown climbs of the first and HC degree. In the mountains you will see some locals and 1 or 2 other cyclists, and you will have the road to yourself.
  • Lago Maggiore, for my 2cents. It's an absolute tropical paradise as spring blossoms arrive due to it's micro climate. You've got Switzerland on the one side and spaghetti on the other.
  • defridedefride Posts: 277
    Many thanks for the advice thus far, should be able to get in end of July before the August rush but guess it'll be pretty busy in any case. Will take a look at some of the more out of the way spots mentioned in the next day or two.

    Looking at loops out of Riva Del Garda and every one, no matter what distance over 30 miles showed 10k + ft of climbing, ouch! Anyone with experience of Monte Velo and/or the roads heading up and over Monte Bondone from RdG?
  • I was in serious bad rain & hail around lago maggiore in august -- but it was lovely in the sun and not that hilly actually and very very very quiet even on a weekend -- saw almost no cars. The best riding in my opinion is when we rode from there towards lake como from cernobbio to bellagio. Lots of rollers around the lakes but more traffic.
  • defride wrote:
    Looking at loops out of Riva Del Garda and every one, no matter what distance over 30 miles showed 10k + ft of climbing, ouch! Anyone with experience of Monte Velo and/or the roads heading up and over Monte Bondone from RdG?

    The north side is the hilly one, that's why I advised it. Going to Italy to avoid the mountains seems a bit pointless.

    I second the Lago d'Iseo suggestion... I've been once and it is very pretty round there
  • phreakphreak Posts: 2,183
    defride wrote:
    Many thanks for the advice thus far, should be able to get in end of July before the August rush but guess it'll be pretty busy in any case. Will take a look at some of the more out of the way spots mentioned in the next day or two.

    Looking at loops out of Riva Del Garda and every one, no matter what distance over 30 miles showed 10k + ft of climbing, ouch! Anyone with experience of Monte Velo and/or the roads heading up and over Monte Bondone from RdG?

    I've ridden the Bondone and it's a nice climb. I can't vouch for it as being anything other than a lake with some great climbs nearby, but you've got lake reschen on the border between Italy and Austria (with Switzerland not far away either). That puts you close to climbs like the Stelvio, val Martello and the Rombo. Apparently it's the largest lake above 1000m in the Alps. Also has the village that was flooded by the lake, with the church steeple still visible.

    Depending on when you went, the nearby town of Nauders hosts a number of sportives over the summer, including the Dreilander Giro and the Race Across the Alps. Might be something to check out too.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    I've driven past Lake Como twice (not at the weekend) on the eastern side of the lake and it was very busy both times. I saw a few cyclists - but it didn't look much like fun.

    Maybe the roads on the West would be better ?
  • davidofdavidof Posts: 2,385
    cougie wrote:
    I've driven past Lake Como twice (not at the weekend) on the eastern side of the lake and it was very busy both times. I saw a few cyclists - but it didn't look much like fun.

    Maybe the roads on the West would be better ?

    West side of lake como is very busy in summer months (July / August) on the lake road, relatively quite on the minor mountain roads.

    I've cycled a lot on the west side of lake Major between Arona and Verbania (home of Elisa Longo Borgini btw, there is a good bike shop in Verbania). The lake road is very busy from early in the morning until well after dark. If you are used to riding traffic its ok but unpleasant. Ditto for the roads over to Lake Orta - one of them takes you through a long tunnel which is an experience. Again once you get off the main roads it is very pleasant.

    Here are some ideas from strava if you are in the Stresa area.

    http://www.strava.com/activities/165441900
    http://www.strava.com/activities/165392917
    http://www.strava.com/activities/165391999
    http://www.strava.com/activities/165390839 - it actually snowed on this ride... in July!
    http://www.strava.com/activities/65832694
    http://www.strava.com/activities/65833488
    http://www.strava.com/activities/76224115
    http://www.strava.com/activities/76213893 - great haipins up but no other way down except on a vtt.
  • Defride...

    We went over in October as we have a place on Lake Como, it in a little commune just outside of Menaggio.

    http://app.strava.com/activities/204790684

    http://app.strava.com/activities/204790652

    http://app.strava.com/activities/204790611

    To answer a few bits above:-

    The eastern shore of the lake is fairly grim in terms of cycling but you can jump on a ferry to get back over for a few Euros. The road from Bellagio to Lecco is fantastic because there is very little traffic and once you've ridden the first leg it almost feels like going downhill all the way.

    Bellagio is where tourists head and while it's nice enough, unless I'm showing others around I don't bother going anymore.

    From our base in Menaggio you can also get over to Lugano which again is a very nice ride - 2nd strava link with a nice little climb back over to Como.

    Como is more "Italian" and less touristy than Garda, trafiic isn't as bad as you think, most of the time the roads are fairly tight so you'll not struggle to keep up with traffic.
    Advocate of disc brakes.
  • I spent a magical day cycling this summer from north of Lake Garda alongside the lake, into Garda itself and then onto Verona. Superb.

    The next day was from Verona to Venice.

    There was even an airshow started in Garda as we sat down for coffee. Talk about a perfect day.
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