Lake Como Hiking Tour Write a review
Set serenely in the Lombardy Plains of Northern Italy amongst the foothills of the Alps, and a short distance from fashionable Milan, Lake Como is one of Europe’s most cherished destinations. Our guided hiking tour captures the beauty of it all, from Alpine villages to opulent lakeside villas. You will hike trails that give enthralling vistas over the lake and take you back in time as we walk through villages and hamlets seemingly untouched by the rush of modern life. Our lovely lakeside hotels are a great place to relax and enjoy the view after a vigorous hike, and of course, we enjoy excellent cuisine at a mix of authentic trattorias and sophisticated restaurants. Finally, your guides look after all the logistics of navigating the lake by ferry allowing you to relax and fully enjoy the beauty of fabulous Lake Como.
Lake Como Hiking Tour Includes
Lake Como Hiking Tour itinerary Request full itinerary
Arrive independently in Como town. Founded by the Romans during the reign of Julius Caesar, the original layout of the city is still clearly visible inside the medieval walls. The town flourished and eventually came under the rule of the Milanese, who built a canal to connect the lake with their city, further opening up trade. Many of the town’s churches and its defensive towers were built during this period, during the turbulent 12th century. Your hotel is the three-star Hotel Firenze (or similar), centrally located on the beautiful square dedicated to the physicist Alessandro Volta, who was born here in 1745. Enjoy an evening wandering through the cobbled streets of old Como or join the locals for a stroll along the lakeside promenade. Dinner is on your own tonight to allow for a relaxed first evening. Overnight Como. Overnight Como. Hotel included. Dinner not included.
Meet your guide(s) after breakfast in the lobby of your hotel and depart on foot to the Monte Brunate cable car which whisks us up 493 meters to an altitude of 692 meters. You will be treated to a magnificent panorama before turning to follow our route which takes us up the lake. We remain high above the shore to reach the village of Palanzo, a medieval village made up of charming stone houses, and an intriguing wine press that dates back to 1572. We have a scenic lunch from the shaded rooftop terrace of the local trattoria. A short after-lunch hike brings us to the dock in Pognana Lario to catch our ferry back to Como. You will have time to peruse Como’s chique shops are chill out in a piazza over an Aperol Spritz. We meet up again to go to dinner. Pizza tonight! Overnight Como. The Hike: 13 kms/7.6 miles, Elevation gain/loss: 455m/1450 Elevation loss: 940 m/300ft. Duration: About 4.5 hours of moving time. Hotel, breakfast, and dinner included.
This morning you have a ferry ride that calls in at all ports as it makes its way up the lake. Quaint villages and romantic villas slide by as you gently cruise up the lake beneath the imposing mountains that line Lake Como’s shore. We disembark in Lenno and follow an ancient pilgrimage path to the 15th-century Sanctuary of the Madonna before taking an old path that links mostly abandoned terraces and farms to the village of Ossucio. Have lunch in an exquisite little piazza right next to the water, then enjoy a guided visit of the unforgettable Villa Balbianello. Originally built in 1787, the villa is now owned by the Italian National Trust. Its last private owner, Count Guido Monzino was an Italian mountain climber and adventurer who led over 20 expeditions worldwide, including to the North Pole, Everest, and Equatorial Guinea. He was also heir to a fortune and he filled the villa with priceless art and collections from his travels. The romantic setting of the villa has been featured in many films. We return to Lenno and enjoy a delicious gelato before settling in at our little boutique hotel which is located on a quiet bay. It is the ideal place for you to hang up your hiking boots, sit back, and enjoy the beauty of Lake Como. Overnight Lenno. The Hike: 11 kms/6.5 miles, Elevation gain/loss: 735m/2350 Elevation loss: the same. Duration: About 4.5 hours of moving time. Hotel, breakfast, and dinner included.
Today's hike takes you into the hills above the lake. We lead you on tiny trails and ancient passages through a string of villages and hamlets to the Villa Carlotta. We enjoy our picnic at what is surely one of the best picnic tables in Italy, set amidst the splendid gardens of the 17th-century villa that was once home to Prince Albert of Prussia. You have free time to explore the fabulous park and gardens as well as the interior of the villa before a return walk along the lake that takes us to Lenno. Dinner tonight is at the lovely Restaurant Santo Stefano. Overnight Lenno. The Hike: 9 kms/5 miles, Elevation gain/loss: 310m/990 Elevation loss: the same. Duration: About 3 hours of moving time. Hotel, breakfast, and dinner included.
The beautiful village of Bellagio beckons us from across the water. We take a morning ferry to Bellagio and hike through the gorgeous park and gardens of the Villa Melzi before heading up an old cobbled path and into the hills behind Bellagio. We walk through thick beech forest and past stone farmhouses to the aptly named Baita Belvedere for lunch. The view over the two arms of the lake with Bellagio village at the tip of the peninsula is without compare. After lunch, you can choose to continue the walk and descend to the lake or opt for a van transfer, and then loop around the Bellagio peninsula passing once-glorious villas to the tiny fishing port of Pescallo. You have free time in the afternoon to peruse Bellagio’s shops and boutiques before a wine tasting in a remarkable enoteca, whose origins go back 500 years. Tonight is a free night so you are free to choose where you wish to dine. Your guides will have plenty of suggestions. Overnight Bellagio at the Hotel Florence in lake view rooms (or similar). The Short Hike for shoppers: 4.2kms/2.5 miles, Elevation gain/loss: 88m/285ft Elevation loss: the same. Duration: About 1.5 hours of moving time. The Hikers Hike: 8.5kms/5 miles, Elevation gain/loss: 408m/1,300ft Elevation loss: the same. Duration: About 2.5 hours of moving time. Hotel, breakfast, and dinner included.
A short ferry ride to the village of Bellano takes us to the north shore of the lake. Set out for a lovely hike that climbs above the water to eventually arrive at the medieval Castle of Vezio, from whose stone ramparts you will have a bird’s eye view onto Bellagio, just a few kilometers away. Speaking of birds, Vezio Castle is home to a nursery that breeds, nurses, and trains birds of prey. Falcons, eagles, and owls perch amongst the trees and look down on us as we explore the castle. Then we descend to the lovely village of Varenna, where you have some free time before taking a ferry back to Bellagio. Our farewell dinner is at one of the area’s best establishments, the Ristorante alle Darsene di Loppia. Overnight Bellagio. The Hike: 9.4 kms/5.7 miles, Elevation gain/loss: 425m/1350 Elevation loss: the same. Duration: About 4 hours of moving time. Hotel, breakfast, and dinner included.
The trip ends after breakfast and we haven’t scheduled any group transfer since the departure options are too numerous. You can return by boat to Como (25 mins by hydrofoil, 1.5 hours by slow ferry; or 1 hour by bus) and pick up a train there, or take a train from Varenna, which is a closer hop from Bellagio. We can also arrange for a private car and driver to take you directly to Milan or to the Milan or Bergamo airports. Breakfast included. Final transfer not included.
Please note: Some details of the itinerary may change according to the departure date of your tour. Whenever we run a tour we make new discoveries. Sometimes they are good discoveries, like a wonderful new trattoria, and sometimes they are bad, like a trail has been washed away. The result is that we sometimes change our itinerary to improve it by adding new wonderful elements to the tour or by removing something that does not work anymore. Rest assured, our goal is to always provide you with the best possible experience. We will advise you of any changes to the original itinerary prior to departure.
Activity Level 3 out of 5= Moderate:
In general: This is a moderate tour for fit hikers, and will be a little challenging but do-able for less fit hikers.
Terrain: Rolling to hilly terrain with frequent climbs and descents, often over rocky terrain. May have some short, relatively steep climbs and descents.
Actual hiking time: between 2 - 5 hours per day, mostly in the morning but also in the afternoon
Distances: Usually between 8 - 12 km (5 - 7 mi). Max distance is 14 km (8 mi)
Surfaces: Trails consist mainly of compact earth and/or gravel and sometimes gravel roads, with occasional rocky and uneven trails
Footing: Good, but on occasion you have to pay attention to where and how you place your feet. Proper hiking shoes with thick soles with good treads are required. Sport sandals, running shoes and tennis shoes are not adequate.
Specifics: We often "cheat" on this tour by taking a van transfer, or a cable-car up or down, to get you into the hills for great views without the effort. The longest day takes us high up above Bellagio, and entails a long but do-able climb through forest, farmlands, and cobbled paths. The climb takes 60 - 90 minutes.
Hiking Poles: Recommended but not required, but if you habitually use hiking poles then you will find them helpful.
Compared to the Cinque Terre: These tours are easier than the hikes in the Cinque Terre.
Other: This tour is appropriate for fit first time “hikers” who enjoy walking and who have good balance.
Moderate Tours: Tuscany Chianti, Dordogne Walk, Sicily Walk, Lake Como Walk, and Corsica.
As a point of reference, what is a 1 out 5 Activity rating? A 1 out of 5 rated tour is a tour without any hiking. Walks would be in towns, cities, and villages, and the countryside walks would be on paved, or gravel/dirt roads, and occasionally on some packed earth trails. Elevation gain and loss would be negligible.
As a point of reference, what is a 5 out 5 Activity rating? A 5 out of 5 rated tour is a tour that would be physically challenging and technically difficult even for very fit and experienced hikers. The hikes would have steep ascents and descents on narrow, exposed trails with challenging footing, such as on scree fields, or through rock falls and boulders. Distances would be up to 25 km/16 miles per day and feature ascents of over 1,000 m/3,200 feet in a day. A 5 out of 5 tour would also mean that you would be carrying a heavier-than-normal pack. None of our tours are rated 5 out 5. Our most challenging tours are 4.5 out of 5, and they are the Dolomites Alta Via (because of some exposed trail that requires some technical expertise) and our Republic of Georgia tour which has some long hikes with over 1,000 meters of elevation gain.
Getting There: the trip starts with your independent arrival in Como at our pre-booked hotel. Como is well connected by rail from Milan.
Air: The closest airport to the start of the trip is Milan, which has two airports. Milano “Malpensa” receives most of the international flights while Milano “Linate” Airport is only 7 km from Milan, and the "Milano Centrale" train station is easily reached by private airport bus (in front of the Arrivals terminal). Taxis to the center cost about €25. For a complete list of Italian airports and a selection of low-cost airlines, see our "Transport Info" page. There is also a train from Malpensa airport to Como, with one change.
Rail: There are several trains per hour from Milan to Como. The trip takes 40 minutes to one hour. See the Trenitalia website (in English) http://www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en. For alternative high-speed rail travel, see the Italo website. For complete information on using the Italian train system, see our blog post.
Getting Away at the End of the Trip: Independent departure from Bellagio after breakfast on Day 7 (Saturday). We have not included the transfer back to Como in the price of the trip because there is a wide variety of boat and bus options. You can choose to take a fast hydrofoil back to Como (25 minutes) or extend your vacation by taking a leisurely and scenic ferry (1.5 hours). Or you can opt to take the bus to Como (1 hour). From Como you can transfer by train to a number of different cities in Italy. We can also arrange a car and driver to take you to any of the three airports, Milan Malpensa, Milan Linate, and Bergamo. The cost is €160 for 2 - 6 pax.
If you should book a trip with us you will receive detailed information about how to get to the start of your trip. Please e-mail us with any specific travel questions.
Our trip through Italy was simply fantastic. Everyday was packed full of energetic activity, cultural learning and most importantly never-ending smiles and genuine laughter. You created a truly amazing experience that we will treasure forever. Thank you again for sharing your many talents and passion!
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The trip was amazing in every way. Thanks to our great guide and a great group, we'll remember it fondly forever. We can't wait to try another tour!
This was a fantastic trip in every respect - the guide, the walks, the meals, and the hotels. I had never done a guided tour before and was really happy with everything about the experience.