There’s never a bad time to explore Lake Como’s outdoor offerings, with its gorgeous walking, hiking and cycling trails that offer panoramic lake views.
Located near Milan, in the north of Italy, this natural wonder is well-known for glamorous villas and medieval stone villages like Bellagio, as well as Alpine mountains.
Lake Como – Fun Facts!
- Lake Como is Italy’s deepest lake at over 400m deep
- The Romans loved to holiday here – they had good taste!
- It’s in the Lombardy region of Italy and lies between Milan and the Swiss border
Getting around Lake Como
Lake Como is around 160km in length; therefore, the most comfortable way to travel is by car.
Another great way to explore is by bike! You can bring your own, or rent a bike from various towns around Lake Como including Domaso, Como and Bellagio.
You can also use public transport to get around Lake Como. Buses and ferries connect the major towns and villages around Lake Como and funiculars bring you up into the surrounding hills. The car ferries are not too expensive, so even if you are driving, you’ll still be able to get around quite quickly.
Camping in Lake Como
Situated at base of the Italian Alps, Lake Como is a haven for campsites. You’ll find family-friendly camping sites in small villages dotted along the shoreline.
In general, Italy is a relaxed country, but wild camping is illegal here as these areas are protected national parks. Therefore, if you wish to camp at Lake Como look out for a campsite and enjoy the bonus of having amenities close to hand! Take advantage of the private beaches, on-site bars, and restaurants.
There are multiple options for camping around Lake Como, especially around the golden triangle of Bellagio, Menaggio, and Varenna. Campsites will be busier in the summer months, so it might be best to pre-book your camping spots. There are also bungalow and caravan rental options on these sites for extra comfort!
Hiking around Lake Como
You don’t need to be experienced in hiking to tackle the mountainous terrain of Lake Como. Hikers of all levels are rewarded with glorious views across the lake and beyond!
Here our are three recommended hiking trails around Lake Como, covering all hiking fitness levels:
Easy Level: San Domenico
A gentle hike to San Domenico (800m), a small chapel with fantastic views of Lake Como.
The trek starts from Breglia and takes you on a scenic hike through woodland and pastures to Santuario della Madonna di Breglia. It takes an hour, so it’s a perfect Lake Como hiking trail for beginners and families.
Intermediate level: Monte Grona via Ferrata
Monte Grona is an intermediate level hike that starts just above the town of Menaggio. The route takes you to the top of Monte Grona (1736m), and it’s about a six-hour round trip. From the top, you will witness spectacular views over the pre-Alps. It’s one of the best hiking routes in Lake Como.
Expert/Intermediate levels: Grigna Settentrionale
The most prominent mountain in Lake Como (although not the highest) is the Grigna. It is 2410m tall, and it takes around 3.5 to 5 hours to reach the summit.
You can access this route from Cainallo, which is a ski resort above the town of Esino Lario near Varenna.
Go prepared with water, although there are places to stop for food and a refuge at the top of the peak if you want to rest your weary head for the night! A difficult but incredibly rewarding Lake Como hiking trail.
Walking in Lake Como: Some of the best trails
Explore hidden waterfalls or take a romantic stroll along the shores of Lake Como. This great walking book shows you all the trails you can do in Lake Como and the surrounding region. But below are our choices for the best walking routes in Lake Como, covering all fitness levels.
Kilometer of Knowledge
Starting from the sublime Villa Olmo, a neoclassical building with a typical Italian garden and an English style park. You cross a bridge into Villa del Grumello and finally into the grounds of Villa Sucota.
In this Villa you will experience grandiose villas, gorgeous gardens, and monuments depicting the history and culture of Lake Como.
Waterfall Valley Monastery
Cenghen waterfall is 600m above sea level with waters from the river Zerbo, and is 50m high. You can easily get here from Val Monastery, and overall, it will take around one hour to complete.
Varenna Walk of Lovers
A short but sweet walk in Varenna. The pathway sits over the water, and has romantic views of the village and its colorful houses. From here, you can see Castello di Vezio which sits atop a nearby cliff.
Spirit of the Woods Trail
The Spirit of the Woods trails is an incredible family-friendly walking route that begins near Canzo. It’s a perfect Lake Como walking trail for young children.
The woodland trail starts at the Prim’Alpe Visitor’s Centre, and you are guaranteed to encounter elves, gnomes, the drunken donkey, and discover a labyrinth!
Cycling in Lake Como: A few recommended routes
Bikes can be found for hire all over Lake Como in villages and towns. Take advantage of this and enjoy scenic rides through pastures or try something a bit more extreme!
Bellano Mountain Bike Trail
Starting from Bellano, this breathtaking route climbs up to Vendrogno, over the pastures of Tedoldo and continues to Alpe Giumello. Alternatively, you can turn back down to Dervio. This route is perfect for mountain bikers!
Muro di Surmano
This steep hill is for serious bike enthusiasts. The ‘Wall of Surmano’ is a severe climb with a gradient that stays between 17% and 25%. You can see split times and quotes from riders up the hill as you ride. You can try to beat the current time to climb this 1.7km long climb, which stands at an impressive 7 minutes and 36 seconds.
Valtellina and Valchiavenna Trails
Do you want a stress-free, gentle ride? If yes is the answer, then this is the route for you! Cycle through the lower Valtellina valley at your own pace and marvel at the gorgeous scenery and natural beauty of the area.
What to eat in Lake Como
It’s not too difficult to find delicious food in Lake Como, but there are some dishes and snacks that are particular to the lake and region that you shouldn’t miss out on!
Brasato di Cinghiale Selvatico
Braised wild boar is a must-try dish for meat lovers. It comes typically braised in wine with vegetables, and you’re more likely to find it on the menu in autumn.
Risotto with Pesce persico
A risotto made with pan-fried freshwater fish from the lake is exceptionally healthy and usually served with sage and a little splash of white wine.
Tripe is a dish that is particular to the region of Lombardy and is typically reserved for Christmas. However, you might find it as an appetizer. A meal for the adventurous!
Shad are the sardines of Lake Como. Locals prepare them with salt then let them hang for several days to dry in the sun. It makes for a tasty appetizer with bread.
Creamy and hot polenta is a great side dish with meat, fish, or cheese.
Gelato with strawberries
An Italian classic is a gelato! In Lake Como, they serve it with sliced strawberries on top, which is particularly delicious!
Italy is, of course, synonymous with wine! In the North of Italy, the best local varieties to try are Soave and Moscato, which are both white wines.
For red, go with a Grumello, or Barol if you’re feeling extravagant!
Asti Spumante is a lovely sparkling wine, and all will pair nicely with all the above dishes.
Getting to Lake Como
You can quickly get to Lake Como from Milan. By car, the journey is around 1/1.5 hours and takes in stunning countryside views along the way.
Recommended for your trip to Lake Como
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