Lake Como is a true paradise for anyone who loves nature, walking and hiking, and the mountains give you the best panoramic views on the lake. Every bend offers the visitor a new perspective and view. The mountainous terrain around Lake Como is considered the Pre-Alp region. Mountains encircling the lake are Monte Grona Resegone, Corni di Canzo, Grigna, Legnone and the Grignetta, a beloved favorite for locals. There’s also Monte San Giorgio, Monte San Martino, Monte Cornizzolo, Monte Barro, Resinelli, Resegone and so many more which make up the Alpi Orobie.
Its unique beauty is explained by National Geographic Magazine, “Thousands and thousands of years ago, glaciers carved the peaks and valley of the Alps. Those same glaciers formed the pre-Alpine lakes of the Lombard region some 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Milan. Scenic Lake Como, with its deep blue waters, has long been known as the looking glass of Venus.”
The best way to see “the looking glass of Venus” is from above. Join one of our expert guides or contact us for more information on guided itineraries of Lake Como’s most extraordinary hikes.
Here are a few of our favorite Lake Como hiking excursions:
Disclaimer: The following information is provided solely as an educational resource. Hiking without an experienced guide is not recommended. For guide information, please contact us.
The Brunate Trail
Brunate is located on the mountaintop above the city of Como. The easiest way to reach Brunate is from the center of Como. The funicular departs about every 15 minutes from Piazza Alcide de Gasperi 4, and will bring you up 716 meters to Brunate. Near the funicular staion is the belvedere (view point) where you can admire a spectacular view spanning Como to Monte Rosa.
From the town square of Brunate start with a walk through town where you will see some of the best-preserved Liberty architecture of Lombardy. The road begins to climb steeply, and after about 30-40 minutes you will reach the church of San Maurizio. Nearby is also the Voltiano Lighthouse, which you can climb for an elevated view.
From the church, follow the signs towards Capanna CAO. This will take you up to about 1000 meters to the beginning of the trail, Il Sentiero delle Baite (the Cabin Trail). From this point onwards, the climb gets easier and you will find yourself immersed in lush, green woods.
Along the trail are several Baite (cabin refuges): the Capanna CAO, the Baita Carla and Baita Bondella, where you can stop to taste local specialties. For ambitious hikers, the trail then continues up to Monte Boletto and even further to Monte Bolettone.
You can return to Como on the funicular, or alternatively, walk down to Como following the trail leaving from the center of Brunate.
The Greenway of Lake Como
The Greenway of Lake Como is one of the most beautiful and scenic hikes around the lake. It’s an easy walk that winds from Colonno to Cadenabbia, about 10 km long. The excursion takes you through medieval villages, ancient alleys and trails with breathtaking views.
The starting point is in the village of Colonno. From here, it’s quite easy- the route is marked well, so it is almost impossible to make a mistake! The first section is particularly stunning: you approach the village of Sala Comacina and find yourself in front of a beautiful view of the island. The route then continues to Lenno, which from you can take a short detour and visit Villa Balbianello.
After passing the charming village of Lenno, the trail leaves the lakefront and goes up towards the village of Mezzegra where from the churchyard of Saint Abbondio, you will enjoy an impressive view of Bellagio. From here, descend to Tremezzo, which is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Near the ferry port of Tremezzo you can admire the exterior of Villa Carlotta and another extraordinary view of Bellagio. The last stretch of the Greenway runs along the shoreline of Lake Como. After a total of about three and a half hours of walking, you will arrive at Cadenabbia. The best way to return to your starting point is by bus.
Il Sentiero del Viandante (The Wayfarer’s Way)
On the eastern shore of Lake Como there is a 45 km trail that crosses the province of Lecco to the province of Sondrio running from the town of Abbadia Lariana all the way to Piantedo.
In past centuries, before the roads and railways were built, Il Sentiero del Viandante (The Wayfarer’s Way) was once referred to as Via Ducale, Via Regia or sometimes called Via Napoleona and was the only connection between the coastal villages. Travelers and merchants would use this system of mule tracks and paths to travel from town to town.
Referred to by locals as “Il Viandante”, it is usually hiked in 3 or 4 segments. The trail mainly runs above the hills of the coastal towns but detours to the villages are easily accessible. Towns along the way are Abbadia Lariana, Mandello del Lario, Varenna, Bellano, Dervio, Corenno Plinio, Piona and Colico. Here too, every corner offers a spectacular view of the lake and landscape of the area. In addition to seeing gorgeous viewpoints, you will also pass through rustic mountain villages and can visit ancient churches.
Most segments are 3 – 4 hours of hiking, but shorter excursions can be planned according to your fitness level. The Lecco-Colico railway line makes doing Il Viandante easy, one step at a time. You can return by train to your starting point or find a B&B in a nearby town along the way and continue in the morning. Il Viandante is a great trail, as it is accessible all year round and is good for all fitness levels.
Torno – Montepiatto
The mountainous landmass between Como, Bellagio and Lecco is known as the Larian Triangle. Hiking the Larian Triangle is a unique experience as it not only offers the natural beauty of the landscape, but hikers will also experience the rich archaeological and anthropological history of the area.
Starting from Torno, an enchanting village on the western branch of Lake Como, the route leads through the hamlet of Piazzaga where you’ll find typical crotti (wine and cheese cellars) and cappelle (small prayer chapels). The trail then crosses valleys and villages until arriving at the Massi Avelli, ancient burial tombs, possibly of Celtic origin and certainly pre-Goth and Byzantine.
Proceeding uphill along a mule path, the trail passes fields and farmhouses offering infinite panoramic views of the lake. You will arrive at the ancient church of St. Elizabeth and finally to the curious Pietra Pendula, a huge boulder seemingly precariously suspended on the apex of a limestone rock. A perfect destination for a picnic lunch!
The Bugone Refuge
This excursion on the western side of the lake runs through natural, wild terrain. Starting from the church of Moltrasio, the route climbs steeply into the woods up towards Monte di Lenno. The village of Monte di Lenno is a rustic mountain village with traditional stone houses. The trail then leads up a constant climb around hairpin bends until reaching the Via dei Monti Lariani. After about two hours from your starting point, you’ll arrive at the Bugone Refuge at 900 meters above sea level. Here you will experience not only the satisfaction reaching the top, but you will see a breathtaking view where you will feel suspended over the beautiful looking glass of the lake. You can then go down by the trail leading to Monte di Liscione making a full loop back to Moltrasio.
Join our expert excursion guides for a spectacular day in the hills and mountains above Lake Como!
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