Italian Lakes Walk (Como & Lugano), Lombardy

Italian Lakes Walk (Como & Lugano), Lombardy


  • Hike the famous great lakes of Italy
  • Explore the rich culture of the Lombardy region
  • Lavish villas, beautiful gardens, fabulous views
  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec

From 715 €

Duration (days): 8

Difficulty grade:  


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The beautiful glacial Lake Como and Lake Lugano have been a popular holiday destination since Roman times, evidenced by the array of lavish villas and sumptuous gardens which line their shores. Away from the affluent holiday centres is a feast of walking trails exploring the forested valleys, mountain tops and traditional villages which have retained their unique character. This walking programme takes in the highlights of the Monti Lariani and the Ticino mountains with a selection walks of varying lengths and difficulty. During the trip you also have the time to visit some of the beautiful villas and experience the excellent regional cuisine allowing a complete appreciation of the area.

Day 1 - LAKE COMO - Arrive in Menaggio
On arrival at the lakeside town of Menaggio on the shores of Lake Como, make your way to the hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore the town and take in the views of the rugged mountains across the lake. During the following days, take time to explore the small towns, viewpoints, forests on either side of Lake Como, the beautiful gardens of Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo and Villa Melzi in Bellagio.
Day 2 - Walk From Varenna to Dervio 
Start the trip with an easy lake side warming-up walk. After breakfast take the boat that crosses the lake to Varenna. Following the East side of the lake take the “Sentiero del Viandante” (the Wayfarer’s path) and experience a rich and ancient cultural landscape with traditional architecture and outstanding views of Lake Como and its surrounding mountains. Just above Varenna, make a short detour to visit the castle in Vezio. It’s worth it! Return to Menaggio by boat. (13km; 5hrs; uphill walk: 950m; downhill walk: 950m)
Walk on the Monti Lariani (Lario being the ancient name of Lake Como) with a variety of suggested walks of differing lengths and difficulty. Dinner is on your own.
WALK A: From Menaggio through the Val Sanagra Nature Reserve
A loop walk starting in Menaggio takes you to the Val Sanagra, an unknown area rich in historical and cultural traces. From Menaggio you reach Loveno, a noble village with many Villas, then on to Pianuro a vast pastures still used now by livestock. Then the trail follows the Sanagra stream, a typical alpine water course, with several ancient mills and iron foundries that through time has formed impressive gorges. The walk passes through Barna, a lovely hamlets where time seems to have stopped. (15km; 5hrs; uphill walk: 700m; downhill walk: 700m)
WALK B: Esino Lario - Rifugio Bietti Buzzi - Esino Lario
Take the ferry from Menaggio to Varenna from where you take a local bus or a taxi to the start of the walk in Esino Lario. Walking through the Regional Park of Northern Grigna is an experience. This very particular mountain range has a unique orography with spectacular pinnacles and steep cliff sides that precipitate into sheer valleys carved deep into the rock. The itinerary brings you to “Porta di Prada”, a striking rock arch caused by the natural erosion of the limestone. (20km; 6hrs; uphill walk: 1150m; downhill walk: 350m)
WALK C: From Breglia to Monte Grona and Monte Bregagnino
The walk starts in Breglia, a small village above Menaggio reachable by bus. The path reaches two of the most significant peaks of the western side of the Lake: Monte Grona and Mote Bregagnino. From the top of Monte Grona (1736m) you have one of the best views of the Pre Alps; from here you can see the three lakes (Como, Lugano and Piano), and the peaks of Monte Bregagno, Legnone, Pizzo di Gino, Grigne. On clear days you can see the Alps from Monviso to Bernina. There are three different ways to get to the top of the Monte Grona from the Rifugio Menaggio, including an alpine ascent using the “via ferrata”. (13km; 7hrs; uphill walk: 1350m; downhill walk: 1350m)
WALK D: From Menaggio to Rezzonico on the Antica Strada Regina
The Antica Strada Regina that leads along the west coast of Lake Como, was built by the Romans. It was an important road connection between Como and the alpine passes. The old trail was used till the end of the 18th century when the current lake road was built. This stretch starts at Menaggio and runs along cobblestoned paths to the characteristic village of Rezzonico. From the top of the hill there are great views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. After the walk return to Menaggio by local bus. (9km; 3hrs; uphill walk: 500m; downhill walk: 500m)
Day 6 – Morning transfer to Cavargna and walk to Porlezza
A morning private transfer takes you to the hill top village of Cavargna from where a spectacular climb takes you to the Church of Saint Lucio, right on the border between Italy and Switzerland. A superbly panoramic footpath leads you through woods and meadows 1550m down to Porlezza, situated at the northeast end of the Lake Lugano, and very close to the border. This rural farmland and forest walk with imposing views is one of the area’s highlights. Return to Menaggio by bus.(17km; 5hrs; uphill walk: 700m; downhill walk: 1500m)
Day 7 – Public bus to Lugano and walk from San Salvatore to Morcote
Morning public bus to Lugano where you take the cable car to the top of Monte San Salvatore. Here a forest footpath takes you to the end of the peninsula. Along the way you have very nice views of the Lake and the mountains around. It is possible to make a short detour to reach the baroque Church of Madonna d’Ongero, where you will be overwhelmed by the view. At the end of your walk in Morcote, take a bus to Lugano where you get the bus track to Porlezza. (10km; 3hrs; uphill walk: 1050m; downhill walk: 400m)
Day 8 – Arrivederci Lugano!
The trip and our services end after breakfast and you bid farewell to the beautiful lakes as you depart for the airport with public transport.

Accommodation and luggage transportation: You stay in a 3* or 4* hotel located in the centre of Menaggio, directly on the lake side. A nice 3* family run hotel with great panoramic view in Porlezza. All rooms have private en-suite bathroom and a continental breakfast is served every morning. Luggage transportation is included (normally done by the accommodation where you stay).


April -April 26th: 740 Euro/person (110 Euro single room supplement; solo traveler: 960 Euros (incl. sgl room suppl.)
April 27th - May 27th: 770 Euro/person (110 Euro single room supplement; solo traveler: 960 Euros (incl. sgl room suppl.)
May 28th -September: 820 Euro/person (110 Euro single room supplement; solo traveler: 1015 Euros (incl. sgl room suppl.)
October: 715 Euro/person (100 Euro single room supplement; solo traveler: 895 Euros (incl. sgl room suppl.)

* N.B.: If your travel period falls into two periods with different prices, the one with the higher price will be invoiced!
** N.B.: Lake view room supplement (Menaggio only); 70 Euros/person

The price includes: accommodation and meals as described under Itinerary; lugagge and people transfers as described under Itinerary; detailed route notes and maps in English; 24/7 local emergency assistance;

The price does not include: city tax (payable locally in hotels); extra meals and drinks; tips; insurance; personal expenses;

Tips: The tour can start on any day of the week. There are 3 day walks which are circular, the others are point to point. There are easy, moderateand demanding walks to choose from. The paths are clearly visible and well-marked; there are some sections of the trail which are rough and exposed. There are many ups and downs as you would expect in a mountainous region, and walking poles are definitely handy. If you are unable to walk, you can always ask, if the luggage transporter can take you with him when transporting your baggage, but this is not always possible and sometimes you have to pay a small fee locally.
Lugano and Milan’s Linate/Malpensa Airports are the closest ones and are served by many flights. Anyway, you can also flight in Bergamo Orio al Serio.
Arrive in Menaggio
From any airport, take the local bus or train to the central railway station and then take one of the several trains to Milano Centrale. To reach Menaggio take a local train from Milano Centrale to Como San Giovanni (it could take from about 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the train). From Como San Giovanni take bus Line C10 of the “ASF Autolinee” Bus Company to arrive in Menaggio. As an alternative you could take a local train from Milano Centrale to Varenna and then take a boat to Menaggio.
Travel to Lugano on Day 7
By bus: there are many daily busses running from Porlezza to Lugano and viceversa.
By private transfer: it is possible to pre-arrange a private transfer from Porlezza to Lugano and viceversa.
Depart from Porlezza
From Porlezza you can take a bus to Lugano and then a train to the airport (Milano, Bergamo or Lugano) OR you can take a bus to Menaggio and then a train to Como; from there you can easily take a train to the closest airports.