Lake Como in Italy,  (or Como Lake) is  located in the region of Lombardy a few miles away from the Swiss border. This beautiful glacial lake, in the shape of a Y is encased at the foot of the Alps between green and steep hills.

It offers some of the most beautiful sceneries in the world and attracts millions of tourists each year. Then, it becomes difficult to enjoy this splendid environment.

It is however possible to discover the Lake, its medieval villages and luxurious villas away from the crowds. So here are a few walks and hikes off the beaten path in this post on our Travel blog Heulys.

Note that we have also visited Bergamo, Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta during our trip in Lombardy.

Our favorite walks and hikes around Como Lake:

1. Hiking on the Wayfarer’s path
2. Hiking in the Grigne Range
3. Taking some height on Lake Como in a funicular
4. Climbing Monte Generoso
5. Hiking in the Parco Val Sanagra
6. Discovering the wild side of Lake Como

If you plan to stay around Lake Maggiore area, read our walks and visits of Lake Maggiore.

Lake Como Map

Lake como map

6 hiking paths to visit Lake Como

Visit the Eastern shore of Lake Como

Lecco, Lake Como, Lombardy, Italy

1. Hiking on the Wayfarer’s Path, along the hill side of Lake Como

Also called “il sentiero del viendante” in Italian.

Along the montainuous slopes of Como Lake, an old mule track runs between the small towns of Varenna and Bellano. It allows the visitors to discover Lombardy’s typical landscapes while admiring the opposite bank of the Lake.

Varenna being the starting point of this beautiful walk, we visit the village that has kept all its authenticity. For exemple, Villa Monastero, luxurious palace with elegant gardens deserves a visit.

varenna villa monestario View on Lake Como

Varenna – Villa Monastero – View on Como Lake

From the center of Varenna, we take the somewhat steep path that leads to Castello di Vezio, perched above Varenna, and first stop of the itinerary. Built in the 8th century, it is the testimony of the military fortifications in the region. But above all, from the castle’s terrace, wonderful views of Lake Como and the village of Bellagio,  on the opposite shore of the lake, can be savoured.

Below, we contemplate the red roofs of the village.

hiking over Varenna on lake como shore, in lombardy italy

View on Varenna, from the Wayfarer’s path

The path runs along Lake Como, on the woody hills. Hiking on the Wayfarer’s path  allows us to discover bucolic landscapes: old settlements, small chapels, ancient villages and medieval bridges crossing streams.

Wayfarer path Varena and Bellano lanscapes of lombardy in italy

Old bridge betwwen Varena and Bellano

The path gets near the railway station of Bellano. We cross the quiet village to reach the shores of Lake Como. Then, we come back by the local train to Varenna.

Distance: 5 miles, duration 2h30. Return by train to Varenna in a few minutes.
Printed version of the description of the Sentiero del Viandante Varenna-Bellano_ENG (pdf).

2. Hiking in the Grigne Range

The eastern shore of Lake Como is bordered by the wild Grigne Range (7900 ft). Outdoor activities such as mountaineering and hiking are numerous. They offer exceptional views of the lake and its surroundings.

Starting from Lecco, we reach Piani Resinelli (4170 ft) by a winding road. This wooden plateau is the starting point of many trails towards the 2 main ranges: Grigna Settentrionale and Grigna Meridionale.

hiking in the grigne range province de lecco

The Grigne Range

We follow the Sentiero delle Foppe, that leads to the Refuge Rosalba. The climb turns out to be somewhat steep but what a panorama at the finish! From there, we have a striking view on The Resegone, mountain with a jagged summit. The landscapes, as magnificent as wild, take on a mysterious appearance at the arrival of the fog.

 Resegone grigne range behind lecco

The Resegone – Grigne Range

Description of the hiking trail “Il Sentiero delle Foppe. It is possible to lunch on Piani Resinelli.

3. Taking some height on Lake Como in a funicular

The city of Como is beautiful and attracts throngs of tourists. Another excellent way to admire Lake Como and its surroundings while escaping the crowd is to “climb” up to Brunate. This village is “perched” on top of the mountains, 2300 feet above the lake level. How to get there ?
– by car,
– on foot (about one hour),
– or by the funicular located at the entrance of Como, Piazza De Gasperi. It joins Brunate in a few minutes.

We walk quietly in the village and admire the magnificent palaces, for example the Villa Pirotta and the Villa Cantaluppi Giulini in Art Deco style. Then we visit Chiesa di Sant’ Andrea, a superb pink baroque church.

A belvedere offers a magnificent panorama of the lake, the Alps and the Po Plain of Italy.

view on Lake Como from the village of brunate

View on Como lake from the village of Brunate

Brunate is also the starting point for many excursions to Mount Piatto.

“Walking route from Brunate to Mount Piatto” (duration 2:30 h one way)
In Brunate, parking spaces being few, prefer the funicular and then follow on foot the signpost “Belvédères”.

Visit the Western shore of Lake Como

Menaggio, Lake Como, Lombardy, Italy

4. Climbing Monte Generoso

Monte Generoso (5600 ft) stands along the rocky ridge that delimits the border between Switzerland and Italy.

It can be reached:

– by cog train train which connects in about 40 minutes the Capolago Station (South of Lake Lugano) to Bellavista station. Then we continue 15 minutes on foot to the top of Monte Generoso.
– Or on a hiking trail starting from the small town of San Fedele Intelvi.
We choose to climb on foot to enjoy one of the most beautiful summits of Italy.

climbing of monte generoso, the path crosses the pre-alps

Climbing of Monte Generoso – The path crosses the Pre-Alps

The hiking path:

After having quietly visited the medieval village of Argegno on the shores of Lake Como and taken a wonderful cable car ride up to Pigra, we drive to San Fedele Intelvi. At the entrance to the city, at the bus station, a signpost indicates 3:30 hours walk to the summit of Monte Generoso. But continuing by car on Via Monte Generoso, there is a car park located on the edge of a wood and a meadow, on the left hand side of the road (1). It is one of the starting point of the walk. And we gain an hour of uninteresting walk. (It is even possible to drive even higher on the same road, and park the car at Alpe Grande Orimento, near the bar restaurant).

(1) From the parking lot, at the edge of the woods, the hike goes through a beautiful forest of chestnut trees. The trail climbs gradually and overlooks magnificent pastures. Finally, the summits of Lombardy and Piedmont stand out on the horizon. The march is more engaging as you approach the summit. But what a satisfaction when we reach the goal! Because of its geographical position, its summit offers an exceptional 360-degree view of the entire region, including Lake Lugano, Lake Como and the Pre-Alps. The view is grandiose. Despite the mist we observe the lakes and pre-Alps territory mountains.

panorama du sommet du monte generoso lac de lugano et pre alpes

Striking view on Lake Lugano from Monte Generoso

   Trail From Pigra to Colonno: (2 hours one way)
Several paths lead to the summit of Monte Generoso.
The path described in this post takes 4 to 5 hours round trip to the parking lot. Ask for detailed information and maps at the Tourism office in San Fedele Intelvi. Or contact us.

5. Hiking in the Parco Val Sanagra

The Parco Val Sanagra, declared Local Park in 2005, lies in between 1000 ft and 6500 ft altitude in the back country of Menaggio. This valley offers many hikes that unveil the typical landscapes of Lombardy.

From Menaggio, at Piazza Garibaldi, we go on foot to discover the Rogolone, symbol of the park. The Rogolone  is a large oak declared Natural Monument. According to the inhabitants, it is the oldest tree in Europe.

We stop in front of remarkable churches and luxurious villas, such as Villa Mylius Vigoni.

Then, the path crosses a large meadow, called Piamuro and follows down the curbs of river Sanagra. Its shores reveal ancient vestiges of artisanal activities related to the use of water.

parco val sanagra rogolone lombardie

Parco Val Sanagra – The Rogolone

The trail goes downward into a wood and then leads us into the meadow where the Rogolone is located. What a beautiful tree indeed! It measures 82 feet in height and more than 26 feet in circumference.

The serene atmosphere is perfect for a picnic near the large oak.

Then, we take the road back to Menaggio and walk along the shores of Como Lake.

This trail is described in the brochure published by the city of Managgio along with 8 other very interesting walks.
A bonus: the hiking map aroud Menaggio. 😉

6. Discovering the wild side of Lake Como

The northern shore of Lake Como, uncrowded, offers magnificent walks and visits. Some small towns have an important historical and patrimonial heritage.

From Menaggio, we take the road that leads to Lake Lugano, on the mountainside.The road crosses Dongo, a town that recalls an episode of World War II: Mussolini and some of its supporters were arrested and executed on April 27, 45. The old town is also home to the Romanesque Church of St. Maria di Martinico.

Then, in Gravedona, the magnificent church of Santa Maria Del Tiglio is one of the most important Romanesque buildings in the province. Built in the 12th century, it is decorated with magnificent frescoes.

Little town of Domaso, on the western side of lake como

Little town of Domaso, on the western side of Como Lake

Further north, we visit the picturesque village of Domaso. Sunset put a pinkish hue on the mountains.

Finally, as we approach the northern end of Lake Como, the landscape becomes unrecognizable. The rustic houses take place to the comfortable hotels. The mountains, strewn with mists, rise steeply above the dark waters of the lake. No ferry on the water, just a few wooden boats waiting to cross the waters.

Lake Como has become dark and wild.

North of Lake Como italy

Villages in the North of Lake Como

Discover the heart of Lake Como : Bellagio

Bellagio is a village located at the intersection of lakes Como and Lecco, at the foot of a rocky promontory. We have not succumbed to the charms of the village itself, whose narrow streets are lined with souvenir shops, frequented by hordes of tourists from the beginning of spring. On the other hand, the surrounding villages are peaceful and their visit promises peaceful and interesting walks.

And furthermore, the hill overlooking Bellagio is the playground for hikers who wish to admire Lake Como “from above”.

5 interesting “trekking routes” are discribed in the city website.

To conclude, don’t travel to the North of Italy without stopping by Como Lake. Your visit will be a charming experience!
This is the reason why, in this post, we have presented our favorite walks and hikes along with a few others that we have listed.
Then, you will inevitably find the one that will answer your desires to escape!

Are you ready to visit Lake Como?

The itineraries and hiking trails mentioned in this post are all described in brochures issued by the Tourist Offices located on the shores of Lake Como.

When to go to Lake Como?

Prefer Spring (May) when nature and gardens are in full bloom. On the other hand, summer temperatures are high but more bearable than in the south of Italy.


There is a wide variety of accommodation all around Lake Como. We advise  to book in advance. Try the “agroturismos”, typical lodging in Italy.

How to get to Como Lake?

Milano Airport.

It is easy to travel around Lake Como and from one bank to the other. Thus, buses make regular connections between the main cities. Ferries and boats cross regurlaly and frequently the lake from one side to the other.

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Laker como italy

 italy lake como

  1. Evelyne, Thanks for the quick reply! Would love to do both (maybe we can do the Wayfarers path, early one morning after breakfast, since it’s a shorter one). The views for the Monte Cristo one look breathtaking and would be perfect for a picnic!! I will let you know what we decided after we get back.

  2. We will be visiting Lake Como the last week in September and staying in Argegno and are looking for the ‘perfect’ hike. 🙂 So which one was your favorite? The wayfarers path from Varenna to Bellano or climbing Monte Generoso. Thanks for your travel blog!