Explore with us three strikingly different regions of Italy, the high alpine lakes of Trentino, the magnificent Dolomite mountain paths and vistas of Alto Adige, and the enchanting trails and canyons of the Veneto region. Each region has its own heritage of food, wine, and history that has shaped the people and the culture through the ages. Like all Lost in Italy adventures, we’ll be walking the trails, visiting the villages, sampling the wine, meeting the locals, enjoying the food, marveling at the incredible views, sampling the wine again, enjoying some more cuisine, and slowly easing into the pace of life in this wonderful corner of Northern Italia!
RUNNERS HIGH PRIVATE JOURNEY…To make this trip even more special, your group leaders will be Ken Pliska and Deb Spence. Ken brings his passion for running and his amazing “track” record to Runners High. He has run and raced for 34 years, qualifying (with a time of 2:20:48) for the US Olympic Marathon Trials in 2004. Ken has run 20 consecutive Boston Marathons and was the 2nd American finisher at the Boston Marathon in 2004. His PRs include his 2:20:48 marathon and a 1:08:10 half marathon finish. Ken holds the Canyonlands half marathon masters’ course record of 1:10:24, set in 2007, and has been named one of the “Legends of St. George” for his marathon performances throughout the years. Ken’s friendly and humble attitude makes runners of all levels and abilities feel encouraged. Ken will hold seminars and workshops throughout the week to highlight various aspects of road and trail running, and is available to coach tour participants to help improve technique and performance.
Deb began running as a young mother of four children, and continued to run for fitness until her children were grown. She ran her first marathon for her 50th birthday. Deb ran 10 marathons in 5 years, and qualified for the Boston Marathon at her second marathon. It was at The Boston Marathon that she met Ken, the love of her life, and they were married at the finish line of the Boston Marathon two years later. Deb has raced all distances from the 5K to the marathon and is currently competing in triathlons. Deb brings the female perspective to running, and like Ken, during the trip she will share her knowledge and love of running to help improve everyone’s game. Ken and Deb will often lead runs on different routes, to provide a variety of distances, surfaces and challenges.
Tour Dates & Pricing
Extend Your Stay
Click the thumbnail to view larger image.
Day 1 - Riva del Garda
Our Italian adventure starts today in Riva del Garda, our home for the first part of our trip. Located in the Italian Regione of Trentino, Riva is a picturesque town wedged between the Italian Alps and the far northern shore of Lago di Garda, the largest of the famous Italian Alpine Lakes. In Riva you'll begin to notice the subtle cultural differences that differentiate this region from the rest of Italy. Although primarily Italian, Austrian and German influences appear alongside Italian names, cuisine and history. Riva’s strategic location made it an important trading center as far back as Roman times, with sailors bringing goods from the south to trade for supplies that came over the Alps from central Europe. The diversity of cultures that mingled here makes Riva a fascinating town even today.
The scenic beauty of the area is evident, too. The blue of the waters contrasts sharply with the green and grey of the surrounding peaks, but both natural features combine to shelter the area and provide a fascinating microclimate. The olive trees on the slopes overlooking Riva are said to be the northernmost olives in the world, and produce an incredibly light, delicate oil. Strangely enough, Mediterranean plants abound here and coexist with typical alpine shrubs and trees.
You should plan to arrive in Riva by midday at the latest. Tonight we'll have our orientation meeting, (of course with local wines), and afterwards we'll walk to one of our favorite spots for our welcome dinner.
Italian and Tyrolean traditions color the robust cuisine in this region, smoked hams, apples, chestnuts, grapes, plums, and pasta tossed with some of the most delicate olive oil in the world appear on most menus. In addition you'll find polenta, more mushroom varieties than anywhere else in Italy, and trout from the alpine lakes and streams. There are two things that definitely set this cuisine apart...the breads and the cheeses! Drawing on both Austrian and Italian baking traditions, the finest breads in all Italy are found here...often laced with onion, garlic, or herbs.
There is also an amazing amount of delicious cheeses produced in this region! The problem is naming them, since there are so many local varieties, many are simply called nostrano or "our local homemade cheese". You'll fall in love with the many types known as malga, a category of mountain cheeses that are made with the summer milk from cows that graze in the highest valleys of the region.
An after-dinner passegiata in the town piazza alongside the moored boats at the pier will cap off your first day in the far north of Italia.
Day 2 - Lago Ledro
We'll be up with the sun this morning as Ken and Deb start your day with an exhilarating run along the lakeshore to the nearby town of Torbole. Scenery galore! Back at the hotel we'll enjoy breakfast, and then switch to a lower gear to stretch our legs on a beautiful lakeside trail that winds alongside the dramatic cliffs of Lago Garda. As the morning sun paints the shoreline we’ll be enjoying the views of sailboats, windsurfers and ferry boats as we climb ever higher on this easy path. In ancient times the local Ladin people used this trail to transport goods between the Roman and Venetian trading posts on Lago Garda and the small mountain communities. Mules, pack horses and villagers trod these paths for centuries, but today they provide an easy way for us to enjoy the mountain scenery as we walk. After drinking in the Lago Garda views we’ll turn inland through a tree-lined rocky gorge alongside a clear mountain stream as it leads us deep into the mountain valleys. Small alpine villages and farms appear in the forest along our route, which seems to have taken us to another quieter world from the wide open spaces along the lake. Before we realize it we’re at our destination, Lago Ledro…a gorgeous sapphire blue alpine lake situated in a small bowl-shaped valley embedded in the forested peaks.
Your guides will prepare a sumptuous lakeside picnic featuring plenty of delicacies from the area, including cheeses from the mountain dairies, local farm salami and breads from the bakeries of Riva.
Of course to reward you for your walk the guide will have a selection of local wines to complete the picnic!
Meanwhile you can stroll along the waters edge, spotting trout and enjoying the view, or even better you can wash off the trail dust in the clear cool waters of the lake! (Don’t forget your swimsuit and towel today!)
Our private bus will take us back to town today with plenty of time for you to explore and Go Get Lost! You can relax and “do your own thing”, this afternoon and do some shopping in Riva.
Tonight we’ll go to a fabulous local ristorante, roll up our sleeves, and help the chef prepare some regional specialties. And then sit down to enjoy the fruits of our labor…
Day 3 - Malcesine, Monte Baldo
We have options for our morning run today...perhaps we'll jog through the charming village of Arco and then down along the unique landscape of Monte Brione, or maybe a trail run on the overlooking mountain slopes is in order. Whatever the route, you'll enjoy great views along the way. After breakfast we'll go south along Lago di Garda to the lakeside village of Malcesine. Here we'll board a series of lifts that scale the near vertical bluffs rising from the lake. This is the long ridge-like spine of impressive Monte Baldo, paralleling the lakeshore for over twenty miles and towering over the nearby landscape. Upon exiting the last lift we'll find ourselves in a different landscape from the gentle lakeshore we left. cool winds, short alpine flora, and stunning views in all directions!
From here a ridge-top path works its way along the spine of Monte Baldo, sometimes edging towards the inland mountains and their lush valley views, sometimes skirting the cliffs along the lake dotted with sailboats. As we walk along the ridge you’ll be amazed at the panorama, on a clear day you can easily see the southern end of Lago di Garda, over 20 miles away!
If you’re looking for an easier option today you could ride the lifts to the top, then walk as much (or as little) as you want, enjoying the mountaintop views, then ride the lifts back down to Malcesine for an extended day in the town.
After our exciting morning on the mountain we’ll turn everyone loose to explore Malcesine. There’s plenty to see and do in this beautiful little town, but when the sun is still high above the mountaintops we’ll meet at the Malcesine dock to board our boat for a scenic ride back to Riva.
We’ve got a fun evening planned, so late this afternoon we’ll meet again for a trip to one of our favorite local wineries. We’ll walk through their vineyards, have a tour of their cellars, learn all about grape growing and wine production…and of course we’ll have a tasting of some of their great vintages along with specialty cuisine of the local area.
This evening is free, so if you’re still hungry after the winery tour, you might wander around Riva to find a cozy ristorante to have dinner. The guides will be dining at one of their favorite local eateries, and you’re always welcome to join them for the evening. People-watching in Piazza Novembre over a cappuccino will be the perfect relaxed ending to an exciting day!
Day 4 - Brenta Group...Nardis Waterfalls or Rifugio Tuckett
(We have a challenging hiking day in the mountains, so our morning run may be an optional event.) After breakfast today we bid farewell to Riva and join our local alpine guides as we board our private mini-coach and head northwest into the spectacular Dolomite Mountains. The route we use winds its way through scenic valleys, past neat mountain villages and over tumbling streams in this out-of-the-way corner of the Alps. Our destination for our morning walk is the formation of mountain peaks known as the Brenta Group, famed for their towering cliffs and surrounding lakes. Today we have two separate but equally beautiful walks! Your first choice starts with an easy stroll through dense alpine woodlands alongside a rushing mountain stream. As you enjoy the beauty and majesty of the forest, you’ll notice the thunder of cascading water growing louder. Soon we’ll find ourselves admiring the stunning beauty of the Nardis Waterfall. Huge boulders allow you to get very close and provide the perfect platform for fantastic photo-ops! As if that wasn’t enough, we have yet another short walk through even denser forest to yet another picturesque waterfall! After all the excitement your guide will take you to our favorite local ristorante for an excellent meal…complete with plenty of the local vintages, of course.
The other walk option will take us a short distance away to the mountain town of Madonna di Campiglio where we’ll use a funicular cable car to transport us up to our trailhead. The walk will lead us across one of the most spectacular landscapes in Italy, high above the treeline and weaving among towering granite pillars. The Brenta group is one of the most photographed mountain landscapes in the world, and we’ll literally be “in the postcard” as we trek between the breathtaking crags. You’ll have many chances to take your very own “postcard” photos of the scenery! We’ll have a hearty lunch at a stone and log mountain “rifugio” and then continue on our path, with dramatic views in every direction.
Eventually we’ll all board our coach and continue deeper into the mountains to Castelrotto, our home for the next few days. Our route to Castelrotto takes us to the northeast past the far northern outposts of Trento and Bolzano. The views along our route are gorgeous and provide typical landscapes of green mountain valleys lined by soaring vertical rock walls. Vineyards, towns, and orchards are sprinkled between large forested tracts. We’ll soon be into the Italian Regione of Alto Adige, also known as the SudTirol or South Tyrol, which straddles the border with Austria to the North. The Austrian influence is strong here, both in the language and the food. Castelrotto, situated in a lovely secluded mountain valley, is perhaps the most picturesque alpine town in all of the Dolomites. With winding cobblestone streets, an abundance of shops and cozy family ristorante, flowerboxes on nearly every windowsill, and towering peaks in every direction, this town is a magical bit of northern Italian ambiance.
After checking into our quaint mountain hotel, we’ll be free for the evening to wander the town and find a perfect little place for dinner. You’ll find that the cuisine has made a definite shift towards the Austrian influence as we’re now much farther into the Alps. Relax and enjoy, today you earned your dinner!
Day 5 - Alpi di Suisi, Schlern Plateau, Sassolungo
On this morning's run we'll find ourselves surrounded by spectacular Alpine scenery as we explore the area around the town of Castelrotto. There are a variety of routes available, from flat country roads to mountain trails. After returning to our hotel and enjoying breakfast, we'll head for the nearby town of Alpi di Suisi we’ll use a funicular to ascend to the high plateau of Sciliar, nestled in a bowl of some of the most breathtaking alpine scenery you can imagine. Our walk will circumnavigate the plateau through rolling alpine meadows complete with wildflowers and placid dairy cows, along cliffs that plummet thousands of feet to the valley floor, and always surrounded by the brooding peaks of Sassopiatto and Sassolungo. This walk contains a panoramic overlook that might possibly be the best in all of our trips…certainly in the top 5. Need I say it…take your camera!
Our meal this afternoon will be at a log-cabin mountain rifugio in a protected valley of the plateau. Depending on conditions we’ll either be outside on the deck under the crisp alpine sunshine, or eating around a cozy fireplace with a glass of vino (or Austrian beer) and a hearty mountain lunch in front of us. It doesn’t get much better than this.
For those in our group not inclined to huff and puff their way around the plateau, we can offer some fun (and easier) alternative itineraries for the day. The town of Castelrotto, although tiny, has some fun shops, as does the much larger nearby town of Ortisei. You can also use the local bus to explore the city of Bolzano, a beautiful city with one of the best shopping a market districts in Italy and also the famous Otzi Iceman museum. If you still want a bit of time in the countryside, a nearby two-person chair lift can whisk you halfway up the mountainside to the Marinzen trail. From here an easy woodland hike with great valley vistas leads to the tiny mountain rifugio of Schatsen Hutte…complete with an excellent kitchen! Lunch here in a quiet mountain glade will be an experience not soon forgotten. Suffice to say that whatever you choose to do today you’ll sleep well tonight…
Day 6 - Pederu'
Once again we have options for the route of our morning run. Depending on weather, our abilities, and our energy levels, we can match the route to our needs. After breakfast our private motorcoach takes us to the vast high alpine plateau of Nature Park Fanes. We’ll hike along the crystal clear stream of the Valley de Mareo through the unspoiled south Tyrolean Dolomites. Life moves slowly here with the fresh mountain air and tranquil atmosphere. The end of our trail takes us to Rifugio Pederu’ where we will experience true south Tyrolean cuisine. Sitting outside on the deck of the rifugio, perched in a canyon among mountain peaks, is truly a beautiful place to enjoy your meal and let your mind wander.
Begrudgingly we leave our mountain retreat and journey on to the small, unknown village of San Vigilio. This enchanting little hideaway will be our home for the next two days. Tonight you’ll experience yet another marvelous meal from a talented local chef. A perfect end to another perfect day…life is good.
Day 7 - Lago Braies
Today's run will feature yet more of the spectacular Alpine scenery we've grown to love. We’ve all seen pictures of the postcard-like scenery of an alpine lake. Today’s hiking venue, Lago Braies, is considered to be the most beautiful lake in all of South Tyrol. Situated in the Valley di Braies and surrounded by the imposing mountain peaks of Croda del Becco, this panorama will make you think you have stumbled into a fairy tale. As we take a picturesque walk around this enchanting spot, the guides will fix a trail lunch that will make this a day to remember.
Tonight we stay in San Vigilio for a very special final night’s meal. The mouthwatering Tyrolean cuisine and the local wines will top off our incredible journey through the lakes and mountains of Northern Italy.
Day 8 - Arrivederci Italia
After breakfast today you’ll have a private coach transfer to the Venice airport at Mestre, where your Lost in Italy tour will end.
- 7 Nights Double Occupancy Accommodations at Listed Hotels or Similar (All Hotels with Private Bathrooms)
- Meals as Specified: 7 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 1 Trailside Picnic, 4 Dinners, 3 Wine Tastings
- Picnic Lunch at Lago Ledro Featuring Local Specialties
- Mountain Lunch at Rifugio Tuckett
- Mountain Lunch at Arnikahutte Rifugio
- Mountain Lunch at Rifugio Pederu’
- Welcome Dinner in Riva del Garda
- Cooking Class with Dinner
- Dinner in San Vigilio
- Farewell Dinner in San Vigilio
- Daily runs led by Runners High owners Ken Pliska and Deb Spence
- Running seminars and workshops during the tour
- Ledro Walk with Local Guide
- Montebaldo Walk with Local Guide
- Brenta Walk with Local Guide
- Nardis Waterfall Walk with Local Guide
- Alpi di Suisi Walk in the SudTirol with Local Guide
- Fanes National Park Walk with Local Guide
- Lago Braies Walk with Local Guide
- Guides Welcome Night Wine Tasting
- Guides Trailside Wine Tasting in Ledro
- Vineyard Tour with Wine Tasting
- Opportunities to Visit Lots of Unique Villages – Malcesine, Nago, Castelrotto, Torbole, Ledro, San Vigilio, etc.
- Transportation once the tour has begun. The motorcoaches and vans we use are modern, air conditioned and roomy. Our tour groups are usually between 8-18 people so we always have lots of room on our coaches to get comfortable.
- All train, ferry, hydrofoil, coach, and taxi transfers as specified in itinerary.
- Sightseeing and entrance fees as specified in itinerary
- Completely escorted by an American Go Get Lost Tour Leader with local guides at specified sites throughout the itinerary
- Go Get Lost trail-friendly wine glass
- A lifetime of unforgettable memories!
What´s not Included
- Airfare package
- Arrival and departure transfers, tour begins at the hotel in Riva del Garda on the afternoon of Day 1, and the tour ends at the airport in Mestre, near Venice on the morning of day 8.
- Gratuities for meals, porterage, local guides, coach drivers, etc.
- Visa fees, if applicable
- Meals not specified in itinerary
- Beverages at meals unless specified in itinerary
- Trip Cancellation/Interruption and Medical Insurance (strongly recommended), call for details
- Single supplement charge
- Items of a personal nature; phone calls, laundry, etc.