Join the Lewis & Clark alumni and friends as they explore 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 Go Get Lost 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!
Led by an expert local guide and escorted by Paulette Bierzychudek, you’ll venture off the beaten tourist path (and most likely get lost) to discover the best that Northern Italy has to offer, at one of the most beautiful times of the year!
(Lewis & Clark are only taking a limited number of travelers for this small-group adventure…don’t get left behind!)
Paulette Bierzychudek, Professor of Natural Sciences enjoys mountain hiking, glorying in alpine wildflowers and appreciates Italian cuisine. She has explored the alpine regions of Europe with her partner Gary Reiness and looks forward to returning with alumni and friends in the summer of 2024. Paulette & Gary recently accompanied a successful Lewis & Clark adult group to Mexico to see the Monarch Butterfly migration. Paulette has been teaching for 41 years, is a population biologist, working in areas of ecology, evolution, and conservation. Nature is her inspiration, constantly asking “why” about the things that she sees in the natural world. Paulette’s research spans questions like how organismal traits evolve, what factors make populations change in size, and how humans can successfully coexist with wild species. Her scholarly interests include investigating the return of native plants after removal of English ivy and restoring habitat to promote the recovery of the threatened Oregon silverspot butterfly. Full profile here.
Tour Dates & Pricing
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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. In the later afternoon 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
This morning we 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 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.
Today's hike is rated MODERATE with a total distance of 6.5 miles, hiking time of 3-4 hours, an elevation gain of 1956 feet, and no appreciable elevation loss. The hike starts at an altitude of 224 feet and tops out at Lago Ledro at 2180 feet.
Day 3 - Malcesine, Monte Baldo
Today 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.
This evening is free for you to wander and find your own cozy ristorante to have dinner. People-watching in Piazza Novembre over a cappuccino will be the perfect relaxed ending to an exciting day!
Today's hike is rated EASY or MODERATE or CHALLENGING...your choice. This is because it is an Out-and-Back route, with nearly the entire trail visible throughout the hike. You can hike as far as you want, then turn around and return to the cable car area to await the rest of the group. It is an exposed trail with the possibility of wind and/or sun, and there are some steep sections near the end, with some scrambling required all of which may push it barely into the CHALLENGING category if you complete the entire hike. The total distance is 4.6 miles, hiking time is 3-4 hours for the roundtrip to Cima delle Pozzette. There is an elevation gain of 1276 feet and an elevation loss of 1276 feet. The trail begins and ends at an altitude of 5719 feet, with the highest point being Cima delle Pozzette at 6995 feet.
Day 4 - Brenta Group
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.
Our adventure starts in the mountain town of Madonna di Campiglio where we’ll use a cable car to transport us up to our trailhead. The hike 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 one of the most picturesque alpine towns in all of the Dolomites. With winding cobblestone streets, a sprinkling 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 4 Star mountain hotel, we'll meet again later 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 meal!
Today's hike is rated CHALLENGING, with a total distance of 6.3 miles, hiking time of 4-5 hours, an elevation gain of 504 feet and an elevation loss of 3689 feet. The hike starts at an altitude of 8224 feet and ends at 4980 feet, with the highest point at 8392 feet.
Day 5 - Alpi di Suisi, Schlern Plateau, Sassolungo
At the 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.
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 nearby towns of Ortisei, Santa Cristina and Selva all have some fun shops, and are accessible by local bus. Or you can also use the local bus to explore the city of Bolzano, a beautiful city with one of the best shopping and market districts in Italy and also the famous Otzi Iceman museum. Suffice to say that whatever you choose to do today you’ll sleep well tonight…
Today's hike is rated MODERATE, with a total distance of 6.1 miles, hiking time of 3-4 hours, an elevation gain of 564 feet and an elevation loss of 2615 feet. The hike starts at an altitude of 6919 feet and ends at 4934 feet with the highest point at 7120 feet.
Day 6 - Marmolada
Today we'll journey through more stunning alpine scenery to one of the most iconic of the mountain groups of the Dolomites...massive Marmolada. Home to the highest peak in the Dolomites, Marmolada was bisected by the front lines in WWI. Austrian troops faced off with Italian mountain troops over miles of trenches and barbed wire, and even fought a bizarre, brutal mine war underground. Today the panorama is more serene, although a few remnants of the "War to End All Wars" still remain. We'll use cablecars to access the high mountain terrain for our walk today, and enjoy spectacular views of Marmolada as we trek along ridges next to the massive mountain.
After our walk we'll have a transfer to the picturesque mountain town of Canazei, our home for the next two nights. After checking in to our cozy mountain hotel and cleaning up from our day in the mountains, we'll have a hearty meal tonight prepared by our local hosts at the inn. Typical specialties will refuel us for our big day in the Catinaccio group tomorrow.
Today's hike is rated CHALLENGING, with a total distance of 8.9 miles, hiking time of 5-6 hours, an elevation gain of 2084 feet and an elevation loss of 2084 feet. The hike starts and ends at an altitude of 7791 feet and the highest point is 8120 feet.
Day 7 - Catinaccio Rosengarten
Today is special...we'll rise early and have a simple hearty breakfast with our hiking companions, then it's off on our grand adventure! Our trek will begin with a chairlift ride over the rugged terrain up to the high mountain rifugio of Paolina. Here our path starts...we'll spend the morning winding along rocky trails and enjoying spectacular views of the surrounding peaks. The landscape here is classic unspoiled Tyrolean Dolomites...tranquil yet stunning. We'll enjoy eagle-eye views of the surrounding countryside, arriving constantly at panoramic spots. We have a route planned that links several of the local rifugios and some of the best mountain scenery of the Dolomites. Lunch will be at one of the mountain huts, and the end of the day will see us safely ensconced on another chairlift, this time descending into a small mountain village to meet our ride back to Canazei.
Tonight we'll have an excellent farewell dinner at the hotel. The mouthwatering Tyrolean cuisine and the local Northern Italian wines will top off our incredible journey through the lakes and mountains of Northern Italy.
A perfect end to another perfect day…life is good.
Today's hike is rated MODERATE, with a total distance of 3.5 miles, hiking time of 2-3 hours, an elevation gain of 709 feet and an elevation loss of 1169 feet. The hike starts at an altitude of 6988 feet and ends at 6528 feet with the highest point at 7470 feet.
Day 8 - Arrivederci Italia
After breakfast today you’ll have a private coach transfer to the Verona train station, where your Go Get Lost tour will end. Here you can use the excellent Italian train system to travel to any other part of Italy, or you can catch a cab to the Verona airport. Verona is also an excellent place to spend an additional night, then catch an early flight the next morning.
Due to availability at the time of booking, hotels listed may change to similar hotels
Riva del Garda - 4 Star Hotel Sole This gorgeous gem is located in the historic center of Riva del Garda with a wonderful view of Lake Garda, and directly on Lake Garda. Surrounded by the picturesque historic center of Riva del Garda, full of narrow streets and shops. Always synonymous with tradition and hospitality, the Hotel Sole is one of the historic hotels in Riva del Garda, already famous with discerning travelers in the early twentieth century.
Riva del Garda – 4 Star Hotel Portici Located on the port of Riva del Garda with a wonderful view of Piazza III Novembre , the Hotel Portici di Riva is a 4-star hotel that boasts a truly enviable position, in the heart of the historic city with its winding streets and shops galore. The surrounding environment and the attention to the service will make your stay unforgettable.
Riva del Garda – 4 Star Hotel Europa This wonderful hotel is situated directly on the lakefront, just a few steps from the main square and only 200 meters from the beach. Completely renovated in 2018, its enviable position makes it one of the best hotel choices in Riva.
Castelrotto – 4 Star Superior Hotel Lamm The strategic location of this 4-star S hotel in Castelrotto on the high plateau above the Isarco Valley makes it possible to discover South Tyrol and the Dolomites with all of its amazing variety of activities. All of their rooms and suites have high-quality oak floors and a balcony, loggia or terrace and offer comfortable box-spring beds, a living room corner with a sofa or two armchairs, a side and reading table, as well as bio-air conditioning, a flat-screen satellite TV, WiFi, a telephone and a safe and minibar. The bathrooms are equipped with a large wellness shower, bidet and hair dryer as well as a toilet. In the room you will also find a wellness bag with a bathrobe and towels for the bath and sauna.
Canazei – 3 Star Hotel Al Sole This is an elegant superior 3-star hotel in Canazei, with just one aim: to guarantee a holiday for all those looking to spend intense days in the open air in the midst of the breathtaking panoramas of the Dolomites. Do you want to relax between one walk and the next? At the Hotel Al Sole you can abandon yourself to the pleasures of their wellness centre or relax in the warm shallow waters of the pool. Here, you can have access to two pools, Finnish sauna, Turkish bath and a relaxation area, and keep fit in the fitness area. Their kitchen is renown, featuring local specialties that will satisfy any appetite after a day trekking in the mountains!
- 3 nights accommdations, double occupancy, in a 4 Star hotel in Riva
- 2 nights accommdations, double occupancy, in a 4 Star Superior hotel in Castelrotto
- 2 nights accommdations, double occupancy, in a 3 Star hotel in Canazei
- Meals as specified: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 4 dinners (Water and local wine is always included at group meals)
- Picnic lunch at Lago Ledro featuring local specialties
- Mountain lunch at Rifugio Tuckett
- Mountain lunch at Suisi Rifugio
- Mountain lunch at Marmolada
- Mountain lunch at Rosengarten
- Welcome dinner in Riva del Garda
- Dinner in Castelrotto
- Dinner in Canazei
- Farewell dinner in Canazei
- Ledro hike
- Monte Baldo hike
- Brenta hike
- Alpi di Suisi hike in the SudTirol
- Marmolada hike
- Catinaccio Rosengarten hike
- Opportunities to visit lots of unique villages – Malcesine, Castelrotto, Ledro, Canazei, etc.
- Transportation once the tour has begun. The motor coaches and vans we use are modern, air conditioned and roomy.
- All ferry, coach, van, bus, cablecar, and chairlift transfers as specified in itinerary.
- Group departure transfer to Verona train station
- Sightseeing and entrance fees as specified in itinerary
- All gratuities, except for your primary local guide
- Completely escorted by a professional Italian hiking guide and Lewis & Clark Professor of Natural Science Paulette Bierzychudek, with additional local guides at specified sites throughout the itinerary
- A lifetime of unforgettable memories!
What´s not Included
- Airfare package
- Arrival transfers, tour begins at the hotel in Riva del Garda on the afternoon of Day 1, and the tour ends at the train station in Verona on the morning of day 8.
- Gratuities for your primary local guide
- Visa fees, if applicable
- Meals not specified in itinerary
- Beverages at meals unless specified in itinerary(water and wine are always included in group meals)
- Trip Cancellation/Interruption and Medical Insurance (strongly recommended), call for details
- Single supplement charge
- Items of a personal nature; phone calls, laundry, etc.