- Mountain and lakeside walks around elegant Lake Como.
- Panoramic views from your ‘agriturismo’ farmstay.
- Riding ferries between pastel-hued villages.
- Chilled spritzer cocktails at a lakeside café.
- Chic Bellagio and the immaculate gardens of Villas Carlotta & Balbianello.
Experience elegant Lake Como on a week-long walking trip, with panoramic mountain paths and lakeside strolls between romantic villages. Wander along Bellagio’s chic promenade and visit the exquisite Villa Carlotta and Villa Balbianello with their immaculate gardens.
One of the joys of walking around Lake Como is the excuse to indulge in Lombardy’s larder—savour such treats as soft goats cheese drizzled in local honey, and grilled freshwater fish from the lake. Thanks to some rewarding walks by day, you’ll have earnt it!
Day 1: Arrive Cernobbio
Lake Como in Italy’s Lombardy region is the most stylish of the Italian Lakes, filled with elegant villas and formal gardens, and surrounded by a fantastic network of lakeside paths and mountain trails.
Arriving at Como train station (just a 1hr train ride from Milan or 3h30 from Venice), you can jump on a ferry or fast boat (15 mins), or take the bus (30 mins) to Cernobbio (payable locally).
Day 2: Walk Monte Bisbino to Schignano
Today’s easy walk starts with a transfer high into the mountains, to Monte Bisbino at 1325m. Revel in the outstanding views over Lake Como before you set off on a high level track which takes in Monte San Bernado (1351m), and Monte di Binate (1279m). Descend to reach your charming agriturismo, a farm-stay deep in the mountains where you can relax and recharge your batteries.
Satisfy your appetite with such delights as local goats cheese served with honey and mountain berries or the meaty local ’salametto’.
Walk: 9km, ascent 420m, descent 830m
Day 3: Intelvi Valley walk
Your farm-stay is the perfect spot from which to explore the mountains above Lake Como. With a network of trails on your doorstep, discover the ‘Prealpi Luganesi’, and walk towards Monte Generoso in the east, which at 1700m towers over neighbouring Lake Lugano.
Walk: 11.5km, 820m ascent/descent
Day 4: Argegno-Pigra cable car, walk to Cadenabbia
Arrive at the lakeside with a taxi transfer, then board the Pigra cable car for the short but breath-taking journey 880m above the lake.
Follow shady forest trails down to the lakeshore at Colonno. Here you join the waterside Greenway path. Take a short detour (walk or water taxi, dependent on the day of the week) to Villa del Balbianello, with its immaculate gardens. This spot has cinematic pedigree thanks to the James Bond film ’Casino Royale’ and is one of Como’s most dramatic locations. Take an optional guided tour to see the villa itself. Continue to Cadenabbia, where you will spend the next two nights.
Walk: 15km (can be shorted to 6 or 10km), max ascent 430m, descent 1060m
Day 5: San Martino Chapel walk or visit Villa Carlotta or Bellagio
Visit the pretty little church and sanctuary of San Martino on a short loop walk. The chapel is perched 450m above the lake and clings to a sheer cliff face, and the paved path leading up to the church is lined with shrines. Pause to take in the far-reaching panorama and enjoy the tranquillity.
From Cadenabbia you can hop on a ferry across to impossibly chic Bellagio, take a stroll along the stylish promenade, then sit and watch the world go by from a shady café terrace.
Another must-see is 17th century Villa Carlotta, just a short walk southwest from Cadenabbia. Admire the botanic gardens, filled with pergolas and lush planting.
Walk: 5.5km, ascent/descent 610m
Day 6: Walk Bocchetta di Nava to Croce
After breakfast, start your walk to Menaggio. Head inland and wind your way up peaceful footpaths across limestone mountain flanks to the Boccetta di Nava. Descend on forest trails to Croce, where you can take a bus to the lakeside at Menaggio.
Menaggio boasts a picturesque old cobblestone centre. The waterside piazza has several cafés that are perfect for lake-gazing and people-watching.
Walk: 10.5km, ascent/descent 800m
Day 7: Sentiero del Viandante 1 walk, or visit Lugano
Jump aboard a ferry for the short hop across to Varenna, a quieter spot whose pastel-hued houses seem to cling impossibly to the steep slopes that rise above the lake. Take a scenic train north along the eastern shore of the lake to Dervio, then walk back to Varenna along the Sentiero del Viandante 1 pathway. You can halve the length of this walk by only taking the train as far as Bellano before walking back to Varenna.
Alternatively, if you haven’t already visited Belllagio or Lugano, you could explore further afield today.
Walk: 11.5km, ascent/descent 920m
Day 8: Onward travel
Your Como walking adventure comes to a close after breakfast. You can either take the ferry across to Varenna and join the train line there (1hr to Milan), or take the bus/ferries back to Como to continue your onward journey by train.
7 nights hand-picked accommodation is included in your trip; you’ll stay 2 nights high in the mountains and enjoy true country hospitality and locally-sourced fresh food at an authentic agriturismo/farmstay. For the rest of your 5 nights at Lake Como you’ll stay in small family-run authentic hotels that are ideal for walkers (of a 3-star standard). The accommodation we normally use is detailed below, however is subject to availability and therefore alternatives of an equal standard may be offered.
Hotel Centrale - Cernobbio
Hotel Centrale was built in 1906 and is only 50m from the lake. There are 33 modern rooms, and you will stay in a 'classic' room in the two-story 19th century villa. Rooms have free WiFi, aircon, satellite TV, minibar and hairdryer.
Agriturismo Al Marnich - Schignano
Agriturismo Al Marnich is a traditional farmhouse, offering bright, comfortable rooms and home-cooked organic food, often fresh from the farm. Stay in a deluxe double room with fireplace and a private balcony offering panoramic views.
Alberghetto La Marianna - Cadenabbia
Your host at 8-bedroom La Marianna is keen walker Paola. Enjoy the peaceful lakeside terrace with views of Bellagio, and a slice of Paola's home-made cake. There is a restaurant 'La Cucina della Marianna' on the ground floor, where chef Ty uses only seasonal and locally-grown produce in his regional recipes.
Hotel Garni Corona - Menaggio
Stay at 24-room Hotel Garni Corona. This family-run hotel is located in the pedestrian area in Menaggio's main square, close to restaurants and cafes. All rooms have WiFi, aircon, mini bar and TV.
Single Rooms & Solo Walkers
This trip is available to solo walkers and a supplement is payable as some of the costs (such as transfers) are not shared. Single rooms are on request and a supplement is payable.
The lovingly prepared cuisine of the Italian Lakes and wine from Lombardy is a highlight of this trip. In order to keep things flexible, dinners and lunches are not included, as you will be spoilt for choice! Most of your accommodations will more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival.
You can start this walking tour anytime between mid-May and mid-September (as this is when the ferries run most frequently around the lake). Lake Como is very popular so it’s best to book as far in advance as you are able to. Please bear in mind that July and August can be hot for walking, however there is often an afternoon breeze.
Single Rooms & Solo Walkers
This trip is available to solo walkers, although a solo walker supplement is payable as some costs (such as luggage and taxi transfers) are not shared. If you require single rooms within your party then we can request this, and a single supplement is then payable. Please remember that with smaller properties the number of dedicated single rooms will be limited.
Grade & Terrain
This trip is graded ‘moderate’ overall, as the walks are generally around 10-15km but with some steeper sections (especially as you climb up from the lake), many you can shorten or skip, and up to 920m of ascent and 1060m of descent. The footpaths and tracks are not technically difficult. Paths consist of footpaths, greenways, ancient mule trails and some minor quiet roads. Should you wish to skip a walk between towns then (with prior notice) you can travel in the taxi (luggage transfer).
Navigation, Route Notes & Maps
The route is not waymarked (with the exception of some sections where you will be walking on official trails and the Greenway). We supply detailed 1:50 000 Kompass maps and route notes so you will have no problem finding your way.
Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight stay. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.
The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.
Getting to Cernobbio
By Air: We recommend flying to Milan, and then you can catch the train from the city centre to Como (approx. 1 hr). Most trains or buses to Como are via Milan. From Como you can either catch a ferry (15 mins) or bus (30 mins) to Cernobbio, or we can provide a transfer at a supplement.
Train timetables are available at Trenitalia; www.trenitalia.com
Getting from Menaggio
From Menaggio you have two choices; you can either take the ferry across to Varenna on the east side of the lake and then catch the train from there to Milan (approx. 1 hr), or catch a bus (approx. 1 hr—see timetable) from Menaggio to Lugano, where there is an airport servicing flights mainly from within Switzerland. Again, please see Trenitalia’s website for timetable planning.
Further information regarding travel advice will be in your comprehensive pre-departure information pack.
- 5 Nights in small hotels (3-star standard).
- 2 Nights in an agriturismo (farmstay).
- 7 Breakfasts.
- Baggage transfers between accommodations (days 2, 4, 6).
- Taxi transfers as per itinerary (days 2 & 4).
- Route notes, map & info pack.
- 24-7 Emergency telephone support.
- 24-7 Emergency telephone support.
- Travel insurance (required).
- Travel to Cernobbia and from Menaggio.
- Entrance fees (eg. Villa Carlotta).
- Public transport (eg. buses and ferries).
- Local hotel tax (up to EUR2 per person per night).
- Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks.
- Personal equipment.
- Additional nights before, during or after the walk.
- Solo walker supplement.
- Single room supplement if required.
- Transfers from Milan or Como.
We are often asked the following questions and we hope that you will find the answers useful.
How fit do I need to be?
This trip is graded ‘moderate’ overall, as the walks are generally around 10-15km, with some sections of steeper ascent/descent, especially when climbing up from/down to the lake, with up to 920m of ascent and 1060m of descent. The footpaths and tracks are not technically difficult. Paths consist of footpaths, greenways, ancient mule trails and some minor quiet roads. Should you wish to skip a walk between towns then (with prior notice) you can travel in the taxi (luggage transfer), or you can often shorten your walks by bus or ferry.
How far in advance do I need to book?
We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the region is extremely popular. The accommodations mentioned on our website are those that we normally use and are subject to availability at the time of booking, however we will always try and accommodate your plans.
What personal equipment do I need?
You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, and dependent on when you are travelling; waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc. Our info packs have a list of all equipement to bring on your walk.
When is the best time of year?
If you prefer to walk in cooler months then May and September will be perfect for you. The Italian Lakes are renowned for their mild climate. Temperatures range from around 13 degrees celsius in Dember to the high 20s in July. Midsummer (July and August) can get quite hot - up to 30 degrees celsius - although an afternon breeze is nearly always guaranteed, and you can of course take a dip in the lake. The Italian Lakes can get extra busy on the main Italian public holidays during the season: 1 May (Labour Day), 2 June (Republic Day) and 15 August (Ferragosto).
What happens if I don't want to walk?
You can (with prior notice) join the taxi which is transferring your luggage, and therefore avoid walking between hotels if you wish. Alternatively, you can use public transport (bus, ferry) or local taxis to move you to the next overnight stop. There are three walks where you'll be walking between accommodations, but on the other days the loop walks are optional so you can choose to explore on foot or simply relax.