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Lake Como, the Italian Riviera & Venice

11 days
It would be hard to leave northern Italy feeling stressed. Along the glimmering shores of Lake Como and the meandering canals of Venice, leisure and relaxation remain mainstays of the Italian lifestyle. Amble around every corner of sleek and stylish Milan. Soak up the sun on the Italian Riviera. Escape to the picturesque villages of Cinque Terre. Just unwind and let the Italians teach you a thing or two about indulgence (trust us, they know best).

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Maximum tour group size: 35 travelers

Tour pace: You will walk for about 1.5 hours daily across mostly flat terrain, including cobblestone streets and unpaved paths, with some hills and stairs.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 9 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 4 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Milan today.

Lake Como Region 2 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Milan

  Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to Italy! After arriving at the airport, transfer to the Lake Como region and settle into your hotel. Later, meet your fellow travelers at tonight’s welcome dinner.

Day 3: Como & Villa Carlotta

  Included meals: Breakfast

Head out to explore the lakeside town of Como, the birthplace of Pliny the Elder and the Younger. Then pay a visit to the beautiful Villa Carlotta (open March through October).

• See Como’s eclectic architecture, glittering lakefront and mountain scenery

• Depending on the season, take in Villa Carlotta on a self-guided tour of the property, which includes a 14-acre garden with more than 500 species of exotic flowers, plants and trees

Later, enjoy free time or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Lake Como Cruise & Bellagio $79pp* Details

Hop aboard a scenic cruise of Lake Como to soak in some of Italy’s most beautiful estates and gardens. Float past charming lakeside towns to Bellagio, a village whose scenery has inspired poets and young lovers for centuries. You’ll have time to take in Bellagio’s classic beauty before heading to a local restaurant, where you’ll sample cuisine from a carefully chosen menu. Please note: Your included meal may be lunch or dinner. This excursion is seasonal and runs from March through October, and its departure time varies by season.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $89)

Milan 2 nights Hotel info

Day 4: Transfer to Milan

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Transfer to Milan and embark on a guided sightseeing tour of Italy’s fashion capital. 

• Walk through the Brera District and see the statue of Leonardo da Vinci, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele and Piazza della Scala

• Step inside the Gothic-style Milan Cathedral, Italy’s largest cathedral

• Pay a visit to the 15th-century Sforza Castle, which currently houses an impressive collection of art

Day 5: Free day in Milan

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day to explore the city or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Scenic Lugano: A Day in Switzerland $39pp* Details

Cross the Swiss border to enjoy a panoramic bus tour of Lugano, a prominent Swiss city. Next, take a scenic walking tour that features the botanical gardens of Ciani Park, the church of Santa Maria degli Angioli—home to the largest Renaissance fresco in Switzerland—the Church of San Rocco, Piazza della Riforma and the Via Nassa shopping center.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $49)

Italian Riviera 3 nights Hotel info

Day 6: Transfer to the Italian Riviera

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Leaving Milan, stop in Lombardy to visit the exceptionally beautiful Certosa di Pavia monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Then, continue south to the seaside paradise of the Italian Riviera.

Day 7: Cinque Terre

  Included meals: Breakfast

Journey to Cinque Terre, a collection of five small villages hugging the Riviera coast. Depending on the weather, board either a boat or train to explore two charming cliffside towns and take in sweeping sea views.

Day 8: Free day in the Italian Riviera

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day at your leisure in the Italian Riviera or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Villages of the Italian Riviera & Lunch $85pp* Details

Drive through the countryside to Sestri Levante, a beautiful seaside village located on the Italian Riviera. Here, you’ll have free time to explore on your own before setting out on a walk along the coastline featuring Baia delle Favole and Baia delle Silenzio—two of the city’s sparkling azure bays. Then, enjoy stunning bayside views as you sit down to a delicious lunch of local seafood and meat specialties paired with some of the region’s best wines. The rest of the time is yours to shop, wander the winding streets or, depending on the season, go for a swim. Please note: This excursion involves moderate walking.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $95)

Venice 2 nights Hotel info

Day 9: Venice via Verona

  Included meals: Breakfast

En route to Venice, stop in Verona for a guided sightseeing tour of the city’s UNESCO-recognized historic center, including the eponymous Roman arena Piazza delle Erbe and the balcony of Shakespeare’s Juliet.

Day 10: Sightseeing tour of Venice

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Experience historic churches, winding canals and picture-perfect piazzas on a guided tour of the city known as the Queen of the Adriatic.

• Step into the iconic St. Mark’s Square and enter St. Mark’s Basilica

• View the stately Doge’s Palace, built in the Venetian Gothic style in 1340

• Marvel at the Bridge of Sighs, the link between Doge’s Palace and the New Prison

• See a glassblowing demonstration to learn about the city’s most celebrated art

Enjoy free time in the city or add an excursion.

Later, join your fellow travelers at tonight’s farewell dinner.

Optional Excursion - Gondola Ride: Canal Cruise with Music $65pp* Details

More than 100 waterways crisscross Venice, and boarding a sleek black gondola to explore them has become a time-honored tradition. On this memorable excursion, join your fellow travelers for a tour through the canals of Venice. A musician serenades you as your gondola cruises through the city. Please note: This excursion runs as weather permits. A private two-person gondola ride is available for an additional $100 per person.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $75)

Optional Excursion - Gondola Ride: Canal Cruise for Two $165pp* Details

More than 100 waterways crisscross Venice, and boarding a sleek black gondola to explore them has become a time-honored tradition. On this memorable excursion, you’ll enjoy a private, serenaded gondola cruise through the canals of Venice. Please note: This excursion runs as weather permits.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $175)

Day 11: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home or extend your stay to explore Trieste.

Add Trieste Starting from $599 pp

Please note: Extension is not available on all departure dates.

Trieste 2 nights

Day 11: Transfer to Trieste

  Included meals: Breakfast

Say goodbye to Venice as you set out for Trieste. After you arrive, join your guide on a sightseeing tour.

• Stroll through the city’s Old Town and the Austrian Quarter, passing through Unity Square

• View the remains of an ancient Roman theater and pass by the Castello di San Giusto

• Enter the Castello di Miramare, a striking waterfront castle built in the mid-1800s

Day 12: Free day in Trieste

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day to explore Trieste or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Slovenia: Postojna Caves & Predjama Castle $109pp* Details

Explore the vast network of underground caverns at Postojna Cave, one of the largest in the world. Navigate past stunning stalactites and stalagmites and maybe even spot a proteus, a species of cave-dwelling salamander native to Southeastern Europe. Then, it’s on to Predjama Castle, a beautiful example of Renaissance architecture, built into a naturally occurring rock arch. Here, you’ll have free time to explore before transferring back to Trieste.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $119)

Venice Region (Mestre) 1 night

Day 13: Transfer to Mestre

  Included meals: Breakfast

Transfer to Mestre, the mainland of Venice, making a stop at an open-air museum to view trenches used in the first World War.

Day 14: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the Venice airport for your flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Como, Italy
  • Milan, Italy
  • Genoa, Italy
  • Venice, Italy
Temperature Precipitation
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Passport & Visa Requirements

In order to enter Italy, U.S. & Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact the Italian consulate for your specific entry requirements.

Baggage Allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs. Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height). Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.

Clothing & Packing Tips

To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight sports jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Italy. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.

Cuisine

Most of the staples of the Italian diet have already become favorites in America, but on your tour, be sure to try those less familiar pasta sauces and the vast range of cured hams, cheeses, rustic breads and desserts. In Italy, the cuisine is often slightly varied by region, and many cities and towns have their own specialties. Northern Italy is known for it’s meats and pastries, Tuscany for its wine, oil and sauces, and Southern Italy for its pizzas. For more authentic meals, try local trattorias—small, family-owned restaurants that tend to be set away from the main piazzas and squares. Italians tend to indulge in long, often boisterous meals featuring wines and the occasional beer, followed by the requisite after-dinner drinks grappa or limoncello. American- or English-style bars and pubs are not as common, although they can be found in the major cities and currently gaining in popularity, especially in northern Italy.

Arrival & Transportation Information

Round-trip flights arrive in Milan’s Malpensa Airport and depart from Venice. When you first arrive at Malpensa Airport, a Go Ahead representative will meet you after clearing customs. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative may be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival. Included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach (and by boat— weather permitting—on the excursion to Cinque Terre). In your free time, you may wish to explore by public transportation or on foot. In Venice, each section of the city is connected by water bus (least expensive), water taxi or gondola. You can purchase discounted bulk passes from vendors or purchase single tickets at each dock. Venice is great city to explore on foot. Arm yourself with a map and pay attention to the signs pointing to the major attractions.

Electricity

Italy operates on the European standard 220 volts.

Time Zones

Italy is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). When it’s noon in New York, it’s 6pm in Venice.

Currency

The euro is the currency you’ll be using on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in Italy, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to access cash at local banks, as needed. You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees. We suggest informing your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so they don’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 7/27/2016

Number of Past Tours: 4

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

awesome trip

This was perhaps my best tour with GAT. I've done 7 so far. Our tour director, Laura, was superb. Best TD I've had with GAT. We saw so many beautiful sights. I'm still digesting my adventure. Great hotels. Great meals. Comfy bus and wonderful drivers. Good itinerary. When something came up that altered plans, our TD came up with great alternatives. Good tour.

 

Hi Mary Lee! We’re thrilled to hear that this may have been your favorite tour (out of seven - wow!) with Go Ahead. We are glad to hear that, between the people, the sites, and all the logistics, this tour went off without a hitch. We also appreciate you letting us know how helpful your Tour Director was when you needed alternative ideas for things to do and places to see. Thank you for your review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | August 25, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 5/21/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Best Tour Director

Great trip; saw a lot of interesting areas. Fast paced, and a lot of walking. Enjoyed it immensely.

 

Hi Maxine! We're delighted to hear you enjoyed your tour. Thank you for your review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | June 21, 2016

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 10/10/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: AZ

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

The sites on this tour are a MUST SEE!

This was our first tour with Go Ahead. Tamara was our Tour Director and she was EXCELLENT! She was extremely knowledgeable, well-organized and simply a joy to be around! She kept everything moving along seamlessly for all 34 travelers throughout the entire 11 days. We would definitely do another tour with Tamara! The daily breakfasts at each hotel were nice and offered a variety of food items and beverages. Unfortunately, we felt that the majority of the "included dinners" could be improved upon. Our best meals were when we went off on our own to dine at local restaurants recommended by our Tour Director. All of the optional tours and the local guides were outstanding and everyone simply adored our very skilled bus driver, Italo! Tamara went above and beyond and arranged for an additional tour of the Carrara Marble Quarry on one of our free days in the Italian Riviera. The tour was wonderful and it ended up being one of the many highlights of our trip! The hotel locations for Lake Como, the Italian Riviera and Venice were outstanding. The hotel location in Milan was merely average. However, it was our understanding that because of the Expo, hotels were hard to come by in Milan at this time. There was a bit of squabbling (which I'm sure is common) about hotel rooms and who received the better rooms with views, etc. In order to try and eliminate this problem for future Go Ahead tours, we suggest offering travelers a varied room rate package upfront that you can sign up for when booking the tour. Some travelers don't mind paying a little more for a premium room at each hotel while others may be satisfied with staying in a standard or economy room while traveling. This way, each traveler knows what type of room to expect when they arrive at the hotel and there are no surprises. It's always good to have options! Overall, this was an enjoyable experience. The sites were amazing and Tamara, Italo and the folks in our tour group made this a very pleasant and memorable trip for us.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 9/1/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: KY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Italian Countryside

This trip was amazing! Would highly recommend if someone wants to see something of Italy other than cities. We did two tours back-to-back with three days in Venice between the tours. Did get to see Venice and Milan, but what we enjoyed most was the Italian Riviera and Cinque Terre. Beautiful area. Excursions were great. Guide was excellent. Only wish we could have stayed in the smaller venues longer. Would also have been better if we had been able to reverse the tours--cities first and countryside second. Cities were tiring; countryside was restful. Monique, our tour guide, was wonderful. She was well organized, knowledgeable, and friendly. One thing which she did which was very helpful was to tell participants that everyone should have an opportunity to sit in the front seats on the coach. Her plan worked very well; participants did trade off each day. It would have been good if she had handed out evaluation forms at the start of the tour since, by the end, we all agreed, we had actually forgotten what the welcome meal was like. Would be a better policy to hand out evals at the start so people could fill out as the program progressed. Would highly recommend this tour to friends.

3 / 5

3 / 5

Tour Date: 9/1/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NJ

Tour Director: 3 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Tour meals

I thought the tour itself was very nice. If you take excursions though, you get stuck with the meals Go Ahead chooses. I also want to remind you that you have the Go Ahead meals the first night in each city. I'm in Italy and thinking that the food would be spectacular, it definitely was not. We took the tour to Bellagio and that was by far the worst dinner we had. I'm thinking we will have incredible seafood. Not so, there was veal three nights with Go Ahead's meals. I think the tour agency should let you have a chance to choose your own meal. Have a variety to choose from. I would have preferred getting a credit for these dinners because when my husband and I ate various restaurants, the dinners were delicious. Just as they should be when traveling in Italy.

 

Thank you for choosing to take this journey with Go Ahead, and for taking the time to review your experience on tour with us. We are so glad that you found the tour itself to be very nice, and regret to learn that the meals on tour did not meet your expectations. When selecting restaurants and menu items, we do our best to choose dishes that our travelers will enjoy, and that will give them a taste for the local cuisine. We regret to learn that you did not feel that we succeeded in this in your case. Our on-tour decisions are made with our travelers’ interest and opinions in mind, and are constantly collecting ratings and reviews to ensure we are aware of any areas where improvements could be made. These restaurants have received good ratings from those who have participated in this tour in the past, and we will continue to monitor their performance. Thank you for your important and thoughtful review, and we hope to welcome you onto another Go Ahead tour in the future.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | September 22, 2015

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 7/25/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CA

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

I Love Italy

We enjoyed the places we visited and our guide, though if you take this tour you must do some of your own planning. Though we went to Milan, we had to do our own Last Supper tour. I f you want to see certain things on your tour do your own research before hand since your GOahead Tour does not necessarily cover all the important things you may want to see. The rooms were not all equal. In other words some people got beautiful views of the water and some did not. some were large with balconies and some were cramped. Very disappointing, since we all paid the same amount. Also very bad idea when we were traveling we basically stopped at truck stops for lunch, for an hour!! They should stop at small towns to have a nice lunch. The rooms were just "okay".

 

Dear Judy, We are so pleased to hear that you love Italy, and we thank you for choosing to make this journey with Go Ahead! Our aim when designing our tours is to provide a completely customizable experience. We have certain components that are included in the tour to offer structure and cultural context. We also offer optional excursions for travelers who are interested in participating. Our expert Tour Directors are trained to provide suggestions and support for those travelers who are interested in sights or activities that are not pre-planned by Go Ahead. We understand that each traveler has their own interests, and it is our hope that this arrangement empowers our travelers to create the trip of their dreams. In regards to the hotels on tour, we work hard so that all our travelers receive rooms with the same essential amenities and standard of quality. We do understand that there is the inherent possibility for variation between hotels and room assignments. Rooms are assigned to travelers at each hotel’s discretion, and are not allocated with any intention of giving some travelers a better experience than any others. Whenever possible, we aim to include travel stops in scenic local surroundings to break up a drive, or simply pause for lunch. We regret to learn that you were dissatisfied with the stops made on your trip, but there are some cases in which we find that detouring too far off the course could increase travel time by an excessive amount and limit time in the final destination. In these cases, we find it is in the group’s best interest to make a quick stop that is convenient, and motor on to the destination. Thank you again for traveling with Go Ahead, and for taking the time to provide this thoughtful review! We hope you choose to travel with Go Ahead again soon!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | August 27, 2015

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 7/25/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CA

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Very satisified with my tour

Tour director was pleasant, knowledgeable and had us on time for everything. The hotels, while not 5 star hotels were more than adequate. Breakfast was included everyday which were adequate, typical European style buffet breakfasts...some better than others but none great. The dinners were just "fair" at best. While it was fun to dine with the whole group of fellow travelers the meals were limited to 2 choices at most. I would not rate any of them above the "fair" rating. I would recommend that these dinners not be included in the future. Local travel guides were "good" to "excellent" throughout. All in all, I enjoyed my tour and would recommend it

 

Dear Ken, Thank you very much for taking the time to review your recent trip with us to Venice, Como, and the Italian Riviera! We are glad that you enjoyed your tour, and that you would recommend it! We take pride in the components that we include on tour, and are glad to learn that you were satisfied with our choice of Tour Director, hotels, and local guides. We aim to select restaurants for included meals that give our travelers a valuable and authentic local culinary experience. The restaurants visited on your tour receive consistently high ratings from your fellow travelers, and are monitored closely by Go Ahead to ensure that we maintain a high standard of quality. We are sorry to learn you did not feel these meals met your expectations, and we thank you for letting us know so that we may better serve future travelers. We happy that you are very satisfied with your tour, and we do hope to welcome you onto another Go Ahead tour in the future!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | August 25, 2015

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 5/9/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CT

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Excellent Tour Director

Took the tour on 5/9/15, the weather could not have been better, the hotels were clean and walking distance to town, Maria the tour director went out of her way to accommodate.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 5/9/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

The Best Yet

Our hotel locations,service and quality were the best. We would like another tour with the same tour guide she is great

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 5/9/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

The Best

WE had a great tour director and the hotels were the best.

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