lake como hike

Stroll the Lake Como Hike to Many Cities in Italy


See the opposite, less-bougie aspect of Italy’s hottest vacation spot.

As soon as upon a time, the aristocratic higher lessons of Italy loved a rarefied existence of opulence on the western aspect of Lake Como. Luxurious motels, eating places, and buying in magnificent villas alongside the water made this a James Bond-esque vacation spot. However whereas all that opulence does nonetheless exist right this moment, there are (and all the time have been) two sides to Lake Como. The farmers and sheep herders, who lived a extra easy existence, left their footsteps alongside the lake’s jap shore. And it’s right here, from Lecco as much as Colico, the place you will discover one in every of Italy’s finest, down-to-earth climbing routes.

Sentiero del Viandante, or The Wayfarer’s Path in English, is a 27-mile path linking the villages on the east aspect of Lake Como, by means of verdant forest, terraced hillsides, pastures, and previous church courtyards, climbing from the lake shore as much as hilltop views of your entire lake valley and again down once more. Observe a path the place you may see the generations of labor put into every cobbled stone and rocks within the hand-built partitions. Round each nook, you’ll be hit by beautiful panoramas, another lovely than the subsequent, with the lake stretching out in entrance of you. On sizzling summer season days, hikers can head to the lakeshore for a dip to chill down.

Initially a mule observe that linked the villages from Abbadia Lariana, Mandello del Lario, Varenna, Bellano, Dervio, and Colico, the path is appropriate for even the not so practiced walkers and households. The half that’s as much as you is how a lot distance you need to cowl throughout your journey. For these in search of an extended trek, Sentiero del Viandante is normally divided into three or 4 phases. However because the villages are all linked by prepare, it’s attainable to leap round and do any part you please for so long as you want, exiting at one of many many cities alongside the way in which. Right here’s a breakdown of the choices and what to know to hike the Sentiero del Viandante.

Don’t overpack, and plan out the place to sleep

That is a simple path, with just a few reasonably troublesome sections. As you may be strolling on numerous surfaces, together with cobbled mule paths, it is advisable to put on correct strolling footwear and socks. Trekking poles are helpful, particularly if it rains, as the traditional cobbles have been smoothed through the years and should turn out to be slippery.

There is no such thing as a specialised gear required, and you’ll by no means actually be removed from a city or a highway, so pack mild. Do not forget that this complete path faces north and could be fairly shady, so whereas temperatures are beautiful for summer season, it might get chilly in autumn or early spring. Winter will see sections completely frozen over, so many individuals keep away from that season. And though you are excessive above the lake, these blasted mosquitos get all over the place in summer season so keep in mind repellent.

Fairly just a few folks camp (responsibly, leaving no hint) alongside the third and forth legs of the trek, however it’s technically not allowed. For the risk-averse, there are many resort lodging alongside the way in which.

Begin your journey with an evening in Lecco

There are 5 official legs of the Sentiero del Viandante route: from Lecco to Abbadia, Abbadia to Lierna, Lierna to Varenna, Varenna to Dervio, and Dervio to Colico.

Lecco is your place to begin, the much less glamorous metropolis on the jap level of Lake Como. It’s reachable from Como by prepare, bus, or ferry. Lecco is a quieter and extra habitable place than its stylish cousin on the western aspect (the 2 cities preserve an historic rivalry), and it’s price spending an evening right here earlier than you embark in your stroll. Keep at La Casa sul Lago Lecco or at Luxurious Suites Rocopom if you wish to pamper your self, and get a meal at Soqquadro restaurant.

To start out the Sentiero del Viandante, start from Lecco prepare station, going north alongside the lake to Caviate resort alongside Through dell’Abbadia, the place the path begins.

Heat up with humble views all the way in which to Abbadia

The primary stage of Sentiero del Viandante is a ten mile stretch from Lecco to Abbadia Lariana. After leaving Lecco, reasonable strolling with beautiful lake views will take you to Pradello, the place you will discover a small pebble seaside in case you want to swim, however in any other case not a lot else. The path will take you on cobbled pathways, slicing throughout quite a few small cities and villages, with a labyrinth of stone staircases and alleyways to discover, do you have to want. That is most likely the least fascinating a part of the stroll, and no judgement in case you really feel like skipping it and taking the prepare from Lecco to Abbadia Lariana.

Upon reaching Abbadia, the path will get barely tougher, however way more rewarding for the great thing about the panorama. Abbadia is a fairly large city the place you may cease for refreshment earlier than setting off on the subsequent stage. There’s a lakeshore campsite right here known as Tenting Spiaggia, which has its personal seaside. When you keep away from the summer season crowds, it’s a lovely, peaceable spot to go the evening.

Cross medieval cities and artwork frescos on the way in which to Lierna

The second leg is about 5.5 miles to the city of Lierna. From Abbadia, the well-marked path follows an historic cobbled mule observe that rises gently however steadily onward in direction of Mandello del Lario. Alongside the way in which, you’ll go indicators for the Cascata Cenghen waterfall, which is price a slight detour, in addition to the Church of San Giorgio, which has artwork frescoes. Proceed on to Maggiana hamlet, the place you may cease on the Torre del Barbarossa, for a glimpse of medieval life. Then on to the hamlet of Rongio till you attain Ristorante al Verde, a great spot for lunch or a beer earlier than persevering with on to complete this part in Lierna.

Get to the beautiful city of Varenna

The third part of the path from Lierna to Varenna stretches for six.2 miles and initially splits right into a excessive highway and a low highway. The upper one provides a greater view, whereas the decrease path is near the villages and the lakeshore. This leg is about 4 hours of climbing by means of forest and river beds, and it might get steep in locations. It’ll all be price it, although, when you get to Varenna. Reverse Bellagio on the east aspect of the lake, Varenna is each bit as lovely, however avoids the hordes of vacationers. This city is certainly price spending the evening in, whether or not at Villa Cipressi or condominium leases, and treating your self to a dinner at Osteria Quatro Cross for conventional, high quality Italian meals.

Soak up the most effective views (and a waterfall) on the way in which to Dervio

The fourth leg is 7.5 miles to Dervio. Upon leaving Varenna, the path follows a mule observe to Perledo. This a part of the hike presents a number of the finest lake views to date. After a climb, the mule path descends regularly to Bellano. Right here you may cease for lunch and go to the Orrido di Bellano, a cavernous waterfall with an elevated wood walkway resulting in it. This sight holds sure significance for pagan cults that also exist in northern Italy, and it’s a actually spectacular sight.

Subsequent, the path descends, bringing you nearer to the lake and thru the city of Oro. An hour’s stroll alongside this route (with extra beautiful views alongside the way in which) will deliver you to the restaurant Crotto del Cech, the place you may cease for one thing cool to drink or a snack, earlier than hitting the final stretch to Dervio.

End your hike in Colico, then ferry again

The final a part of the path will take you to Colico on the very northern tip of Lake Como. It is a simple if barely lengthy a part of the stroll, taking about 4 hours, bringing you previous the Fifteenth-century church of San Giorgio and the small hamlet of Mandonico, comprising a cluster of attribute stone homes. The path then climbs steeply, opening as much as unbelievable views of the lake and main you to the Church of San Rocco, the place a fountain can replenish your bottles. Onward, extra forest trails lead you into the townlands of Colico, the ultimate vacation spot for a lot of.

Hardier trekkers might want to proceed north in direction of the Swiss border. The path retains going in numerous iterations by means of the valley of Valtellina, up so far as Sondrio, by means of the forest and wine nation. However many flip again to Como at this level. The simplest option to attain Como from Colico is by ferry. The stunning experience takes about an hour and a half and offers you the possibility to calm down whereas observing the path you simply walked from the water.

Replenish by spending a final celebratory evening in Como

There isn’t any higher option to bask within the fruits of your labor than spending a while within the pampered city of Como. Whereas there isn’t any scarcity of lodging right here, rooms could be dear, particularly throughout excessive season. Vista Palazzo Lago Di Como is a private favourite and Ostello Bello Lake Como may swimsuit vacationers on a price range. For native Italian meals, attempt Trattoria La Costa or Il Diavolo l’Acqua Santa. However in case you’re capable of splash, I Tigli in Theoria is a Michelin starred restaurant that’s well worth the worth. And do not forget to expertise aperitivo, which you are able to do on the hotspots Hemmingway and Terrazza 241 on the Hilton.

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Hugo McCafferty is a contract author for Thrillist.

Author: ZeroToHero

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