Castel Gandolfo
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Our most recommended Castel Gandolfo Nature & Adventure

From Rome: Castel Gandolfo Kayak and Swimming Lake Tour

1. From Rome: Castel Gandolfo Kayak and Swimming Lake Tour

Immerse yourself in the history and nature of this peaceful lake, located just a short distance from Rome, on a kayak tour with plenty of interesting stops and technical kayaking tips. After a quick paddling, navigation and communication lesson, you will begin your tour of the lake. Stops will include the village of the millstones, the Roman port of the Villa of Domitian, the Trampoline of the Pope, and a beautiful beach reachable only by kayak, where you can swim if the weather is right. Along the way you will see the summer residence of the Popes, atop the mountain of Castel Gandolfo and surrounded by untouched nature. You can Listen to the sound of local wildlife and the water lapping, a unique and unforgettable experience so close to Rome. Your guide will provide technical assistance throughout the tour, and offer stories and anecdotes about the lake. After arriving back at the starting point, you will have the opportunity to take a shower before heading back to the capital.

Castel Gandolfo: Kayak Food and Wine Tour

2. Castel Gandolfo: Kayak Food and Wine Tour

Your tour will begin with you being helped into all of the safety devices, such as the life jacket. You will then partake in a lesson on the ground which will run you through the techniques of paddling and on the use of the kayak. The first leg of paddling will involve your guide teaching you how to paddle, correcting the posture and the movement of your arms as you go. Your first break will then be at the village of the millstones, which consists of submerged stilt houses that you will see from your kayak. After your break, you will engage in another stretch of paddling through untouched nature where you can admire the summer residence of the Popes on the mountain of Castel Gandolfo. You will then take a second break at the Roman port of the Villa of Domitian. Next, you will pass in front of the old structure of the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, where all the kayaking and rowing competitions were fought. Your third stop will then be the Pope's Trampoline, where you will stop to admire the old structure on the lake shore with the ancient papal coat of arms. You will next be invited to continue your tour in a unique way to awaken all your sensory activities, as you paddle in perfect silence and listen exclusively to the sound of nature and the local wildlife. To stay in the theme of wild nature, you will then dock in an uncontaminated beach reachable only by kayak, where if the season allows, you will also dive and swim. Your paddling will then continue to the starting point, from where you will receive another relaxing break.

Rome: Pontifical Villa Gardens at Castel Gandolfo Minibus

3. Rome: Pontifical Villa Gardens at Castel Gandolfo Minibus

Explore the 55-hectare gardens of the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo by open minibus. Listen to the audio guide as you roam the gardens to learn all their secrets. Meet your greeter in the Palazzo before starting your tour. Climb aboard the eco-friendly minibus to discover the Castel Gandolfo gardens. See tree-lined avenues, flowers, fountains, and statues. Admire views of the sapphire blue and emerald green waters of Lake Albano. Take in the remains of Emperor Domitian's residence. Find out all there is to know about the Popes, including which pontiff installed a swimming pool and which one laid low in Castel Gandolfo for months after handing in his resignation. You can upgrade your minibus tour of the gardens. Choose from a visit to the papal apartments or lunch in the papal gardens. In the Pope's summer residence, discover five hundred years of papal history in the apartments. Wander from the bedroom to the private chapel and from the library to the studio. Gaze at the balcony from which the Popes pronounced the Angelus every summer Sunday. Or, enjoy a lunch of traditional foods in the garden picnic area. Tuck into a porchetta or vegetarian sandwich, bottled water, a wine or beer, and typical wine biscuits.

Rome: Half-Day Trip to Pope’s Summer Residence

4. Rome: Half-Day Trip to Pope’s Summer Residence

Just 12 miles outside of Rome stands the town of Castel Gandolfo, home to the Papal Residence for over 400 years. Join an exclusive tour of the Apostolic Palace and the Barberini Gardens, and walk in the footsteps of the popes. Meet your host at the Central Station Termini in Rome to board the train towards Castel Gandolfo. Your tour guide will give you an introduction of your destination, and tell you stories about the many popes, as well as Roman emperors, who used to escape from the Roman summer heat. Once you've arrived at Castel Gandolfo, walk to the Papal residence where you'll receive an official audio guide. Then, enjoy a ride on the Vatican ecological open bus for an hour around the Barberini Gardens.

Rome: Vatican & Lunch at Pope's Summer Residence Day Tour

5. Rome: Vatican & Lunch at Pope's Summer Residence Day Tour

Start your 9-hour program with a bus ride to Castel Gandolfo, a secluded and charming town that’s home to the pope’s summer residence. Explore the pope’s private Barberini Gardens by mini-bus and with the assistance of an audio guide. The Papal Palace was recently opened to the public by Pope Francis. You’ll see the treasures of this extravagant yet intimate interior, including works by Bernini. Enjoy a break for lunch and some free time to explore the town before heading back to Rome. In the afternoon, begin a 3-hour tour of Vatican City at the Vatican Museums. With your priority access you’ll skip the lines, allowing more time to discover the great works of art. Continue to the Sistine Chapel, where your guide will point out amazing art including Michelangelo’s The Last Judgement – the largest fresco ever painted by a single person. The last stop on this walking tour of Vatican City is St. Peter’s Basilica, which is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture.

Rome: Go City Explorer Pass - Choose 2 to 7 Attractions

6. Rome: Go City Explorer Pass - Choose 2 to 7 Attractions

Explore Rome at your own pace with the Go City Rome Explorer Pass. Choose from 2 to 7 attractions and tours from a list of over 30 options including the Colosseum, a hop-on hop-off bus tour, the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and more. With a full 60 days to use your pass from your first attraction visit or tour, you'll have plenty of time to visit the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, join a wine tasting by the Colosseum, enjoy a candlelit classical music concert, or go bike riding among ancient Roman ruins. Take advantage of great savings compared to buying individual attraction tickets and enjoy a complimentary digital guide packed with attraction information and instructions on booking your visits. To redeem, simply display your pass on your mobile device (or print it at home) at the ticket office or gate for free admission. Choose 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 attractions from the following (some of the activities may require reservations, check your digital guide for instructions): Cultural and Historical Sights • Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palantine Hill with audio tour, hosted entry, and multimedia video • Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel • St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour • Borghese Gallery and city guide app • Castel Sant' Angelo with audio guide • Capitolini Museum with hosted entry • Altar of the Fatherland Panoramic View • Piazza Navona Underground • Altar of the Fatherland Panoramic View • Carcer Tullianum (Mamertine Prison) Other Tours and Experiences • Big Bus Rome Hop-on Hop-off 1-Day Classic Tour • Rome Catacombs Tour including transfer • Delicious Pasta Menu by Trevi Fountain • Best of Rome at Twilight • Wine tasting with a certified sommelier by the Colosseum • Colosseum Exterior VR Experience • Circus Maximus Virtual Reality Game • HiBike and Caracalla Baths - 3hrs • Ancient Via Appia Antica by Bike • The Three Tenors in Concert with Ballet - St. Paul's Church • HiBike and Circo Massimo Experience (3 hours) • Museo delle Cere (Wax Museum) • Welcome to Rome Show • Leonardo Da Vinci Experience • Vivaldi's Four Seasons Meets Bach's Masterpieces • Trevi District Underground: Small Aqueduct Domus • Vigamus - Video Game Museum • HiBike Rental (3 hours) • Candlelight Concert at the Waldensian Auditorium Attractions and tours are subject to change. Check your included digital guide for an up-to-date attraction list including opening times and instructions on how to access each attraction with your pass before you go. 

Sistine Chapel, Vatican Gardens & Castel Gandolfo Day Tour

7. Sistine Chapel, Vatican Gardens & Castel Gandolfo Day Tour

Start your day bright and early as you meet your tour guide at the Vatican Museums. Skip the line and enter 45 minutes before the general public with your special access ticket. After going through a brief security check, proceed inside to begin your tour starting with the best galleries. Follow your art historian guide along the tour route which includes the Gallery of the Tapestries, the Gallery of the Candelabra, and the Gallery of the Maps.  Then, learn about the history and process Michelangelo used to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel before entering to see it yourself. Continue to the Vatican Gardens, where only special tour groups are allowed to visit. With your exclusive Vatican Gardens tickets, breathe in the tranquil air of this mini paradise. After your Vatican Gardens tour, enter Vatican City’s only train station to board the train to Castel Gandolfo. Once the site of Emperor Domitian’s Villa, the Barberini Gardens boast beautifully-designed hedges situated amidst flowers, fountains and Ancient Roman ruins. Your guide will tell you stories about the history of the gardens and the many points of interest located within. Once you’ve explored the lush scenery of the Barberini Gardens, the tour will break for lunch (included with the tour). Sit down to a sumptuous spread of locally-sourced, organic Italian meats, cheeses, olive oil, tomatoes, and pasta. Then, have the opportunity to take a self-guided tour of the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer residence. Now a museum open to the public, enjoy exploring the Palace’s many rooms, art galleries, and collection of cars driven by former popes. Use your round-trip train ticket to return to Vatican City and conclude your memorable experience.

Rome: Private Appian Way & Albano Lake Full-Day E-Bike Tour

8. Rome: Private Appian Way & Albano Lake Full-Day E-Bike Tour

Escape the hustle and bustle of central Rome for a full-day mountain bike tour in the surrounding countryside and follow a route through pristine nature and landscapes that have inspired some of Italy’s best known artists. The moderately difficult 50-kilometer route will take you past some of Rome’s most historic sites, such as Trajan's Baths, the Ninfeum of Egeria, Villa dei Quintilli and Caracalla’s Baths. Departing from near the Colosseum, bike through Caffarella Park to the Aqueduct Park, named after the historic aqueducts that run through this part of the Appian Way regional park. Because of its idyllic ambiance, Aqueduct Park is often used as a film location. Take the train from Capanelle to Castel Gandolfo, before hopping on your mountain bike to explore the surroundings of Lake Albano. Stop at a local restaurant with a wonderful view of the water and relax as you enjoy a traditional lunch of Italian cuisine. Lake Albano is also known as Castel Gandolfo Lake, after the castle and the Pope’s summer residence that overlooks the lake. After lunch, head back to Rome, cycling a nice descent to set you up for the Appia Antica. Relive the glory days of the Roman Empire as you bike along cobblestone streets that date back 2,300 years. Pass ancient tombs and ruins from the Roman Republic.

From Rome: Castelgandolfo & Pontifical Villas

9. From Rome: Castelgandolfo & Pontifical Villas

At 09:30, you will be picked up from your hotel in Rome by your driver. You'll enjoy a scenic 1-hour drive to Castel Gandolfo. Visit the Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo on your own with audioguides (tickets and audioguides included), then you’ll enjoy the pretty historical center of Castel Gandolfo town and the scenic view of Albano Lake with a stop for a good lunch. After lunch, return back to your accommodation in Rome. The Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo are increasingly accessible to visitors. Following the opening to the public of the Barberini Garden and the inauguration, within the Apostolic Palace, of the Museums of the Gallery of the Portraits of the Pontiffs, now the most private and reserved areas of the papal residence can also be admired and enjoyed by pilgrims and tourists. Many of the exclusive places in the Papal Apartment will be revealed to visitors: from the bedchamber to the private chapel, from the library to the study, along a rich exhibition itinerary conceived, arranged and managed by the Vatican Museums. The Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo comprise about 55 hectares (11 more than Vatican City) of which 30 make up a garden while 25 are used for farming. The latter is carried out with full regard for the aesthetics proper to countryside gardening. The entire papal residence enjoys all the privileges of extraterritoriality. When one visits the pontifical estates or Villa Pontificia for the first time, he does not expect to come across the ruins of what is perhaps the most famous villa of ancient Rome, the Albanum Domitiani, the magnificent summer residence of the Emperor Domitian (81-96 AD), which once covered roughly 14 kilometers along the Appian Way towards Lake Albano. 

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What people are saying about Castel Gandolfo

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 15 reviews

A really great experience! Stefano was A great host! It was the most wonderful activity we've ever done. The lake is absolutely gorgeous and Sup Arianna is a fantastic girl! A great host! It was the most wonderful activity we've ever done. The lake is absolutely gorgeous and Kayak Tour is so fun! We get to swim in this beautiful lake too! I will recommend this to anyone !! " Tour is so fun! We get to swim in this beautiful lake too! I will recommend this to anyone !! "

Magnificent kayak tour, the guide Alex was invaluable, very nice and sociable, also the staff dedicated to information, very helpful. Highly recommended !!!

Beautiful experience! Andrea was very nice and helpful with us. The lake is wonderful, even more so on a beautiful sunny day. We recommend it!

Vincenzo was an amazing guide and we had a lot of fun touring the lake on the kayaks. Great views of the town and Castel Gandolfo.

Five of us had a brilliant morning kayaking out on the lake, much thanks to Michael our guide.