HIKING LAKE COMO: THE BEST TRAILS
Voted the ‘most beautiful lake in the world’ in 2014, Lake Como is one of the most famous bodies of water in Europe, located in Lombardy between the provinces of Como and Lecco.
The beauty of this lake has been extoled by Romantic poets, musicians and writers, and it has been impressed on the collective memory thanks to the famous introduction of Alessandro Manzoni’s The Betrothed.
Because it is surrounded by mountains, Lake Como is the ideal place for hiking and trekking, and is the perfect destination for tourists and outdoor enthusiasts while on holiday in northern Italy.
In this article, we’ll tell you about the best hiking trails around Lake Como!
The wayfarer’s trail (Sentiero Viandante)
Surely the most famous Lake Como itinerary, this trail extends for 45 km (28 miles) along the eastern side of the lake, passing through the provinces of Lecco and Sondrio. The Wayfarer’s Trail starts at Abbadia Lariana and continues north, alternating between easy uphill climbs and rolling descents until reaching Piantedo. Though not particularly difficult, it is quite long, so we recommend dividing the trail into 4 treks, spaced out over multiple days. The views offered by this trail are truly spectacular and will reward hikers with a breath-taking panorama no matter the season, but especially in spring and autumn.
Length: 45 Km / 28 miles (4 sections)
Approx. duration: 17 hours total
Elevation gain: 360 m / 1181 ft
Where to park: the public car park in Via S. Martino (Abbadia Lariana)
The Camaggiore ring trail
Another scenic trail is the Camaggiore circular route, which is in the province of Lecco on the northern side of Lake Como. The trailhead is in Dervio, where it starts along on paved roads to then switch to dirt trails and mule tracks, crossing through dense woodlands that extend to the eastern shore of the lake. This hike is certainly one of the most beautiful ring walks at Lake Como, and is a great, not-too-lengthy option for those who prefer day outings.
Length: 15.4 Km / 9.6 miles
Approx. duration: 6 hours
Elevation gain: 1050 m / 3445 ft
Where to park: rail station car park (Dervio)
Upper Larian trail (Alta Via dei Monti Lariani)
There’s a trail that runs along the entire western side of Lake Como: the Upper Larian trail. Starting in Cernobbio and ending in Sorico, this route covers 125 km (77.7 miles) of mountainside looking out over the lake and touches upon alpine pastures, old towns, solitary churches, and chestnut and beechwood forests. Despite its length, this trail is relatively easy and can be divided into multiple sections, generally between 4 to 6. The Upper Larian trail is also a draw for mountain bikers because it is easy to access and well-marked.
Length: 125 Km / 77.7 miles (4 sections)
Approx. duration: 45 hours overall
Elevation gain: 600 m / 1969 ft
Where to park: car park near the church of Rovenna
Excursion from Torno to the Pietra Pendula
Those looking for easier treks around Lake Como are wise to consider the circular trail that begins and ends in Torno, a charming village not far from the city of Como. This route starts by winding through the roads of the village to then continue along a mule track, venturing into the woods. Hikers will pass by various points of geological and cultural interest, such as the ‘Trovanti’, the ‘Massi Avelli’ and the ‘Roccia di San Carlo Borromeo’, but the most unique attraction is the ‘Pietra Pendula’, a T-shaped structure formed by a large rock balanced atop a smaller one.
Length: 9.4 Km / 5.8 miles
Approx. duration: 3.5 hours
Elevation gain: 420 m / 1378 ft
Where to park: various free car parks in the town of Torno
*TRAIL DIFFICULTY LEVELS (ITALIAN SYSTEM)
T: tourist trail
T/E: tourist/hiking trail
EE: experts only
How to prepare for a hike near Lake Como
To be sure you get off on the right foot, you need to be sure you bring suitable equipment and supplies with you, depending on the type of trail you’ve chosen. If you’re dreaming of a multi-day outing, be sure to pack a large rucksack and everything you’ll need—you don’t want to be unprepared out in the woods! Carrying a large rucksack means you’ll need hiking boots that offer proper ankle support and superior shock absorption, so that you can tackle the trail safely, securely and comfortably. If, on the other hand, you’re planning a shorter, less challenging hike, you might want a lighter shoe that will give you greater freedom of movement.
While on your chosen route at Lake Como, keep in mind that your mobile phone might not get reception in certain areas, so be sure to bring a map, whistle and an electric torch, all of which are indispensable tools should you get lost or find yourself in a difficult situation. Before heading out into an area that you don’t know, always remember to check the route and, if you don’t have much experience, be sure to hire a guide.
And of course, don’t forget to bring a canteen with plenty of water to stay hydrated.
VETTA TECH GTX®
These versatile and lightweight boots are ideal for via ferrata and alpine trekking on mixed terrain, rock or scree. The mid cut suede leather upper features a GORE-TEX® membrane for durable waterproof protection. The Michelin® outsole delivers excellent traction underfoot also on uneven terrain.