- A short walking break with easy trails around Lake Como.
- Jumping on board ferries between idyllic lakeside villages.
- The bird’s eye view over the lake from the Pigra cable car.
- Bellagio’s stylish promenade; people-watching with a chilled spritzer cocktail.
- Manicured lakeside gardens of Villa Carlotta & Villa Balbianello.
Lake Como is the most stylish of the Italian Lakes, and offers the perfect walking escape. Picture yourself following panoramic mountain trails gazing down onto the shimmering lake, and easy waterside paths between pastel-hued villages.
As well as it’s natural beauty, Lake Como is world-famous for its neoclassical villas and immaculate gardens, not forgetting über-chic Bellagio with its flower-filled lakeside promenade and cafés, where you can pause for a chilled spritzer cocktail and watch the world go by.
Day 1: Arrive Cadenabbia
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 1hr by train from Milan or 3h30 from Venice), you can jump on the ferry (2hrs), or take the bus (1hr5) to Cadenabbia (payable locally).
Day 2: Transfer to Pigra, walk to Cadenabbia
Due to the closure of the cable car between Argegno and Pigra, we have arranged a private transfer for you to Pigra.
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. Return to Cadenabbia.
Walk: 15km (can be shorted to 7.5 or 10km), max ascent 430m, descent 1060m
Day 3: 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 4: Bellagio or Lugano visit, or Sentiero del Viandante 1 walk
You’ve a choice of activities today; a walk along the eastern side of the lake, a ferry ride to explore Bellagio or take a bus to visit Lugano.
If you’d like to stretch your legs, a ferry whisks you across the lake to peaceful Varenna, where you take the train north to Dervio, then walk back along the Sentiero del Viandante 1 pathway. You can halve this walk by taking the train as far as Bellano before walking back to Varenna.
Alternatively, take the ferry to stylish Bellagio with its chic promenade, or jump on a bus (1hr) across the Swiss border to (Lake) Lugano.
Walk: 11.5km, ascent/descent 920m
Day 5: Onward travel
This morning bid a fond farewell to Lake Como. 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.
4 nights hand-picked accommodation is included in your trip; staying 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.
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.
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, and with some steeper sections of ascent/descent, usually when climbing up/down to the lake, with up to 920m of ascent and 1060m of descent. On 2 of the days the walks are optional, so you can explore the lake by ferry or relax and soak up the atmosphere of your charming town or village. 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 the walk on day 2, then (with prior notice) you can travel in the taxi (luggage transfer). Many of the walks you can shorten by ferry or bus.
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 (on day 3). 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 Cadenabbia
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 (2hrs) or bus (1hr 15 mins) to Cadenabbia, 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.
- 4 Nights in small hotels (3-star standard).
- 4 Breakfasts.
- Baggage transfers between accommodations (day 3).
- Route notes, map & info pack.
- 24-7 Emergency telephone support.
- Travel insurance (required).
- Travel to Cadenabbia 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, and with some steeper sections of ascent and descent, particularly when climbing up from or 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 on day 3, then (with prior notice) you can travel in the taxi (luggage transfer). Many of the walks you can also shorten 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 or ferry) or local taxis to move you to the next overnight stop. There is just the one walk on day 3 when you'll be walking between accommodations, but on the other days the walks are optional so you can choose to explore on foot or simply relax.