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Alps: Italian lakes (Como & Lugano), Lombardy

€740 per person

Join us on a self-guided walking tour around the magnificent glacial lakes Como and Lugano. This is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Italy since Roman times, evidence of which is the stunning villas with their splendid gardens playfully perching the coastline. An abundance of walking trails takes you away from the hassle of the holiday centers and into enchanting forest valleys, admirable mountain tops and secluded traditional villages. You will explore the very best of the Monti Lariani and the Ticino mountains with an excellent selection of walks of different duration and level of difficulty. You will also have the opportunity to visit some delightful villas and appreciate the fantastic local regional cuisine.

  • Destination
  • Duration
    8 Days I Tour Difficulty 3 (of 5)
  • What is included
    Good 3-4* hotels (en-suite rooms) incl. breakfast; Lugagge and people transfers as described under Itinerary; Detailed route notes and maps in English; Emergency assistance;
  • What is not included
    City tax (payable locally in hotels); extra meals and drinks;
  • Best period
    April, May, June, July, August, September, October
1
Day 1. Arrival in Menaggio
You begin your independent hiking adventure with Lake Como. You arrive at the charming lakeside town of Menaggio and locate your hotel so you can leave your luggage and explore the town and the surrounding landscape peacefully.
2
Day 2. From Varenna to Dervio (13km, 5hrs, +950m/-950m)
You start your self-guided walking tour with an easy walk around the lakeside. After a healthy breakfast, take the boat across the lake to Varenna. From there, you will follow the “Sentiero del Viandante” (the Wayfarer’s path) on the East side of the lake. As you advance through a magnificent cultural landscape of the traditional buildings and the magnificent Lake Como and the neighboring mountains. A short detour to the castle in Vezio is possible. Then head back to Menaggio by boat.
3
Days 3-5. A SELECTION OF WALKS ON LAKE COMO (15km, 5hrs, +700m/-700m OR 20km, 6hrs, +1150m/-350m OR 3km, 7hrs, +1350m;/-1350m OR 9km, 3hrs,+500m/-500m)
For the following three days you have a wonderful selection of walks of various difficulty on the Monti Lariani (Lario is the ancient name of Lake Como). WALK A: A circular walk from Menaggio to the Val Sanagra Nature Reserve. The trail takes you through the lovely village of Loveno full of beautiful villas. Then you continue through the lush pastures of Pianuro and follow the playful alpine Sanagra stream not long after. You will pass through the peculiar Barna, where time seems to have come to a full stop. WALK B: A circular walk from Esino Lario to Rifugio Bietti Buzzi. Take the ferry from Menaggio to Varenna from where you need to board a local bus or take a taxi to Esino Lario which is the starting point for this walk. Your walk will be in the Regional Park of Northern Grigna. It is particularly picturesque with its sharp cliffs and valleys carved deeply into the rocky scenery. You will walk by the “Porta di Prada” - a stunning natural rock arch. WALK C: From Breglia to Monte Grona and Monte Bregagnino. The starting point for this self-guided hiking route is the village of Bregia easily accessible by bus from Menaggio. You will have the opportunity to conquer two of the highest peaks on the western side of the lake: Monte Grona (1736m) and Monte Bregagnino (2107m). Monte Grona offers great views of all three lakes - Como, Lugano, and Piano as well as the surrounding peaks of the Pre-Alps. WALK D: From Menaggio to Rezzonico on the Antica Strada Regina. This route follows the Antica Strada Regina, an important Roman trade road passing through the westside of Lake Como and continuing through the alpine mountain passes. It was used until the end of the 18th century when the current road was first built. This section starts from Menaggio and leads to the village of Rezzonico offering great views along the way. Return to Menaggio by bus.
4
Day 6. Morning transfer to Cavargna and walk to Porlezza (17km, 5hrs, +700m/-1500m)
After breakfast, a private transfer will take you to the village of Cavargna where the starting point of your next independent hiking section will be. A scenic climb to the Church of Saint Lucio will bring you right to the border between Italy and Switzerland. The trail down is particularly picturesque, leading you through forests and meadows down to Porlezza and Lake Lugano. This panoramic trail is one of the area’s highlights. Return to Menaggio by bus for an overnight.
5
Day 7. From San Salvatore to Morcote (10km, 3hrs, +1050m/-400m)
Take the bus to Lugano in the morning after breakfast where you can take the cable car further to the top of Monte San Salvatore. You then follow a forest trail to the endpoint of the peninsula. The path offers spectacular views of the Lake and the surrounding mountains with many photo opportunities. A short detour to the baroque Church of Madonna d’Ongero with its spectacular view is available. Your hiking route ends in Morcote where you need to take a bus to Lugano and transfer to a bus to Porlezza for your overnight.
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Day 8. Departure day

TOUR LOCATION

Price
740 Euro per person in twin/dbl room (arrivals after 01/10)
765 Euro per person in twin/dbl room (arrivals between 01/4-26/4)
795 Euro per person in twin/dbl room (arrivals between 27/4-27/5)
850 Euro per person in twin/dbl room (arrivals between 28/5-30/9)
* N.B.: Lake view room supplement (Menaggio only!); 70 Euros/person in twin/dbl room (not possible for single rooms)
** N.B.: Triple rooms possible on request (contact us for details)
Single room & Solo Traveler supplement
Single room supplement
90 Euro (arrivals after 01/10)
110 Euro (during the rest time of the season)
Solo Traveler supplement
230 Euro (arrivals after 01/10; incl. sgl. room supplement)
330 Euro (during the rest time of the season; incl. sgl. room supplement)
Tips
Daily departures between April and mid-October. There are 3 day walks which are circular, the others are point to point. There are easy, moderate and demanding walks to choose from. The paths are clearly visible and well-marked; there are some sections of the trail which are rough and exposed. There are many ups and downs as you would expect in a mountainous region, and walking poles are definitely handy. If you are unable to walk, you can always ask, if the luggage transporter can take you with him when transporting your baggage, but this is not always possible and sometimes you have to pay a small fee locally. Lugano and Milan’s Linate/Malpensa Airports are the closest ones and are served by many flights. Anyway, you can also flight in Bergamo Orio al Serio.
Arrive in Menaggio: From any airport, take the local bus or train to the central railway station and then take one of the several trains to Milano Centrale. To reach Menaggio take a local train from Milano Centrale to Como San Giovanni (it could take from about 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the train). From Como San Giovanni take bus Line C10 of the “ASF Autolinee” Bus Company to arrive in Menaggio. As an alternative you could take a local train from Milano Centrale to Varenna and then take a boat to Menaggio. Travel to Lugano on Day 7: By bus: there are many daily buses running from Porlezza to Lugano and vice versa. By private transfer: it is possible to pre-arrange a private transfer from Porlezza to Lugano and viceversa. Depart from Porlezza: From Porlezza you can take a bus to Lugano and then a train to the airport (Milano, Bergamo or Lugano) OR you can take a bus to Menaggio and then a train to Como; from there you can easily take a train to the closest airports.
Accommodation
You stay in a 3* or 4* hotel located in the center of Menaggio (days 1 to 5), directly on the lake side. A nice 3* family run hotel with great panoramic view in Porlezza (days 6 and 7). All rooms have private en-suite bathroom and a continental breakfast is served every morning. In Menaggio there is an option to order rooms with lake view (contact us for details). Triple rooms are available on request (contact us for details).

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