Many visitors to Lake Como will automatically find themselves doing more walking than they do at home, either around the small towns that line the edges of the Lake, or in the large gardens of some of the aristocratic villas.
But there are also walks for walking’s sake, along the Lakeside and in the hills, each providing spectacular views of the Lake and mountains from different perspectives.
The ‘greenway del lago di Como’ runs by the side of the Lake for ten and a half kilometres from Colonno, just north of Argegno, to Cadenabbia – Griante, just below Menaggio. It therefore includes parts of Sala Comacina, Ossuccio, Lenno, Mezzegra and Tremezzo and the villas Carlotta and Balbianello. If the distance is a bit off putting you can easily shorten it because the greenway is adjacent to the C10 bus route and you will also pass many ferry points.
A similar journey can be undertaken in a series of walks along the mountainside – from Argegno to Ossuccio, incorporating a breathtaking cable car ride up 860 metres; and from Lenno to Griante, among old settlements slightly higher above the Lake than the greenway.
There are also two well established walks from the Lakeside up to religious monuments on the slopes above the greenway. The first, above Ossuccio, is a walk along a winding path taking in fourteen chapels with statues and frescos, leading to the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Soccorso, five hundred metres above the Lake. The second is a walk from Griante to the church of San Martino, perched like an eagle’ nest on the steep mountain side.
The central Lake Como area
Bellagio and Menaggio are big enough to accommodate walking routes around the town. Menaggio has a ‘historic and artistic itinerary’ estimated to take one hour while Bellagio has both a one hour tour of the central part of the town and a two hour tour of the suburbs (details from respective information offices). The most important walk in Varenna is a 40 minutes or longer steep ascent to the Castle Vezzio, for dazzling views of the central Lake area. You can’t walk between the towns of the central lake because they’re separated by water.
The northern end of the Lake
The northern end of the Lake (Alto Lario) again offers both Lakeside and mountain side walks.
From Dongo you can walk along the edge of the lake for four to five kilometres to reach Gravedona, which will give you an insight into the watersports and campsite culture which is characteristic of that part of the Lake. There is also a more urban walk from Gravedona to Domaso.
From Dongo you can also take two different walks up into the mountainside, to the churches of San Gottardo and Santa Eufemia.
This is just a sample of walks available around the Lake, for which detailed information/maps are usually available from tourist information offices. The office in Menaggio is particularly good on walks not just around Menaggio but all over the Lake.