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Trails of Italian Lakes: Como and Lugano 1

Trails of Italian Lakes: Como and Lugano

Tour details

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Activity type
Self Guided Walking
8 days & 7 nights
Easy to Moderate
April - October


Day 1: Menaggio
Day 2: Varenna to Dervio
Day 3: Val Sanagra Reserve
Day 4: Rifugio Bietti
Day 5: Antica Strada Regina
Day 6: Porlezza
Day 7: San Salvatore
Day 8: Departure

Overview for Trails of Italian Lakes: Como and Lugano

The Italian lakes of Como and Lugano will enchant you with the beauty of an entrancing landscape of water and mountains fused together in perfect harmony. This walking holiday in Lombardy will take you away from the crowded holiday centres on trails going through forested valleys, mountain tops and traditional villages still preserving their unique character.

During the six days of walking, you will explore the highlights of the Monti Lariani and the Ticino mountains with a choice of walks of varying length and difficulty. During the trip, you will also have the opportunity to visit some of the beautiful local villas and enjoy the authentic cuisine, fully experiencing the beauty of Lombardy.


  • Exploring the mountain trails high above the Lakes of Como and Lugano
  • Experience the rich culture and art of the Lombardy region know for its lavish villas and beautiful gardens
  • Spend 5 overnights in Menaggio, a beautiful town with fabulous views of Lake Como
  • The ancient “Antica Strada Regina”
  • Lake Lugano and the village of Porlezza

Itinerary for Trails of Italian Lakes: Como and Lugano

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Day 1: Arrive in Menaggio

Arrival at your hotel in Menaggio on your own. Once you settle, you can spend the rest of the day enjoying the views of the rugged mountains across the lake.

Overnight in Menaggio

Day 2: Varenna to Dervio

After breakfast, a boat takes you across the lake to Varenna, where you get on the “Sentiero del Viandante” (the Wayfarer’s path) exploring the rich and ancient cultural landscape with traditional architecture and outstanding views of Lake Como and its surrounding mountains. Once above Varenna, we recommend you take a detour to the castle in Vezio. Return to Menaggio by boat.

Walking for the day: 12.4 km, approx. 5 hrs, ↑­­­­637 m ↓624 m
Overnight in Menaggio

Day 3-5: Walks around Lake Como

During the following three days you can choose among several optional routes around the lake:

Option A: From Menaggio through the Val Sanagra Nature Reserve
A loop walk starting in Menaggio takes you to the historically rich area of Val Sanagra. You then head to Loveno, an aristocratic village with many Villas and then to Pianuro walking through a scenic pastoral landscape. The trail continues along the Sanagra stream passing through Barna, an area covered with lovely hamlets where time seems to have stopped.

Walking for the day: 15.5 km, approx. 5 hrs, ↑­­­­696 m ↓695 m
Overnight in Menaggio

Option B: From Breglia to Monte Grona and Monte Bregagnino
You get on a local bus taking you to the small village of Breglia where your walk starts. The path today takes you through the two most scenic peaks of the western side of the Lake: Monte Grona and Monte Bregagnino. From the top of Monte Grona (1736 m) you have one of the best views of the Alps’ foothills, as well as of three lakes (Como, Lugano and Piano) and the peaks of Monte Bregagno, Legnone, Pizzo di Gino, Grigne. On clear days you can see the Alps from Monviso to Bernina. There are three different ways to get to the top of the Monte Grona from the Rifugio Menaggio, including an alpine ascent on a “via ferrata”.

Walking for the day: 14 km, approx. 6-7 hrs, ↑­­­­1000 m ↓1000 m
Overnight in Menaggio

Option C: From Menaggio to Rezzonico on the Antica Strada Regina
The Antica Strada Regina leading along the west coast of Lake Como was built by the Romans and was an important road connection between Como and the alpine passes. The old trail was used until the end of the 18th century when the current lake road was built. This walk starts at Menaggio and runs along cobblestoned paths to the village of Rezzonico. From the top of the hill, there are great views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. After the walk, you return to Menaggio by local bus.

Walking for the day: 9 km, approx. 3 hrs, ↑­­­­330 m ↓350 m
Overnight in Menaggio

Day 6: Morning transfer to Cavargna and walk to Porlezza

A private transfer in the morning takes you to the hilltop village of Cavargna from where a scenic climb takes you to the Church of Saint Lucio, right on the border between Italy and Switzerland. A great panoramic footpath leads you through woods and meadows 1550 m down to Porlezza, situated at the northeast end of the Lake Lugano, and very close to the border. This rural farmland and forest walk with imposing views is one of the area’s highlights. After the walk, you continue to your hotel in Porlezza by bus.

Walking for the day: 16.5 km, approx. 5 hrs, ↑­­­­600 m ↓1300 m
Overnight in Porlezza

Day 7: Porlezza – San Mamete – Porlezza

Today’s walk takes you to the mountains above Lake Lugano – an area of forest, waterfalls and tiny villages. The start is quite challenging since you are climbing up the steep side of the mountain, but once you make it to the mountain hut Alpe Vecchio you can relax and admire the landscape. The way down is via the village of San Mamete through forest and paths. Here you take the public bus back to Porlezza.

Walking for the day: 11,3 km, approx. 5 hrs, ↑­­­­1100 m ↓1100 m
Overnight in Porlezza

Day 8: Departure

Departure on your own or extension of the tour upon request.

Hotels for Trails of Italian Lakes: Como and Lugano

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In Menaggio: 3* or 4* hotel located on the lakeside. In Porlezza: 3* family-run hotel with great panoramic views. All places have been carefully hand-picked by us and their quality is regularly monitored. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Sample hotels: Hotel Bellavista, Hotel Europa

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.


Breakfast buffet is included on all days. When no restaurant is available on the route, lunches and snacks can either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. Dinner is available either from the restaurant in your accommodation or the restaurants in the town where you stay for overnight.

Travel for Trails of Italian Lakes: Como and Lugano

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By Plane

Our recommended arrival/departure airports for this holiday are the ones in Milan, Lugano and Bergamo.

By Rail

The train journey from London St Pancras via Paris and Lyon to Milan takes about 10.5 hours (see more details).

By Bus

From Milan airport take the local bus or train to the central railway station and then get on some of the trains to Milano Centrale from where you take a local train to Como San Giovanni (lasting between 30 min and 1 hour). From Como San Giovanni take bus Line C10 of the “ASF Autolinee” Bus Company to arrive in Menaggio. Another option is taking a local train from Milano Centrale to Varenna and then get on a boat to Menaggio.

From Porlezza you can take a bus to Lugano and then a train to the airport (Milano, Bergamo or Lugano). You can also take a bus to Menaggio and then a train to Como from where you can easily take a train to your airport.

Private Transfers

Airport transfers by public transport are recommended for this trip, as they are much cheaper and faster compared to car transfers. You can also book a private airport transfer with us.

Baggage Transfers

Transfer of luggage on day 6 is included.

Country Info

Language: Italian. In big cities and resorts, many people speak English, but in remote areas, this might not be the case. However, most of the hotel personnel where we stay speak English and are ready to help you. Many people also speak German. You can always call our 24/7 helpline if there are any problems.

Electric supply and plugs: 220 V, 50 Hz, two-pin round plugs.

Currency: We strongly advise taking sufficient cash for your daily requirements. Banks and ATMs are available, and credit/debit card payments are widely accepted in towns and cities and big petrol station chains but might be limited at some of the villages we visit.

Up-to-date travel advice on Italy is available here.

Detailed travel information and hints will be provided in your holiday information pack.

Trip Info for Trails of Italian Lakes: Como and Lugano

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Difficulty Grade: Easy to Moderate

This is a self guided walk with average daily walking stages taking between 3-5 hours as you are usually able to choose the specific route for the day according to your abilities. The walks are along well-trodden footpaths, forest trails are not always well marked. There are many uphill/downhill sections as you would expect in a mountainous region, and bringing walking poles is recommendable. You will also walk along cobbled paths and small sections of the route are also on small country lanes. A good level of fitness is required for enjoying the walks to the maximum (read more about difficulty grades).

Route Navigation

We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to Go

This trip can depart everyday between April and mid-October.

What to Bring

We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, the place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing not more than 25 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15 – 20 l rucksack) for your everyday essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack. If you need further advice, please contact a reputable outdoor retailer or us.

  • Good hiking boots
  • Hiking socks
  • Several t-shirts (cotton or preferably breathable/fast drying)
  • Packable waterproof and windproof jacket with hood
  • Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
  • Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside the accommodation
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
  • Hat/Baseball cap
  • Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)

Included for Trails of Italian Lakes: Como and Lugano

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  • 7 nights accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis
  • Private transfer from Menaggio to Cavargna
  • Luggage transfer to Porlezza on Day 6
  • Holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route notes and maps (digital copy sent by email and a hard copy delivered at first hotel)
  • 24/7 phone support by our local office/representative

Single Room & Solo Traveller Supplements

  • Where individual members of a group require a single room, a single room supplement is applicable. Single rooms are with street view only
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers. As costs are not shared, a supplement is payable on the standard trip cost

Please click the CHECK AVAILABILITY button above to see the price of the holiday and the different options, extras and supplements for your desired dates.

Options and Extras

  • Private transfers, where public buses are used, can be arranged upon request
  • Additional nights before, during or after the walk
  • Lake view hotel upgrade in Menaggio (for five nights) – only for double/twin rooms

Other Trip-Related Costs

  • Airport train and bus fares
  • Entrance fees for attractions and museums


  • Flight tickets, trains or buses wherever necessary
  • Lunches & dinners
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Personal equipment
  • Local tourist taxes
  • Any items not explicitly listed as ‘Included’

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