Nights and Hikes - Lake Como at your own pace 3 nights or more
Splendid views, ancient villages and beautiful villas, all in a wonderful natural setting, that is what this flexible package is about.
You can travel out for walks starting from one of the B&Bs on different shores of the lake.
Subsequently you can extend your stay by booking extra days in one of the B&Bs or by booking a 'nights and hikes' package on the other shore of the lake.
The mild climate and a choice of walks of different level and at different altitude makes this arrangement possible throughout the year.
The views of Lake Como, the colors and the flavors, give the area a typical Mediterranean atmosphere and the contrast with the white-topped alps in the background gives it an irresistible charm.
Over the centuries the area has been celebrated by dozens of travelers in letters, diaries and sketchbooks of drawings: This is the area more pleasant than all of Lombardy - noted the painter Johann Jacob Wetzel next to his sketches in 1819 - the climate is so mild that even during winter there is no need to repair oranges.
The landscape of Lake Como is a sum of nature and history: Human activities shaped the territory by subtracting the land from the mountain, creating the typical terraces. On the slopes and at the waterfront are rural villages where narrow streets, steep alleyways, courtyards and common areas intersect and overlap; stone buildings, traditionally stone roofs, churches, chapels.
But also the aristocratic inhabitants of Lombardy, sensitive to the charmes of this waterfront close to their cities, left their traces with their refined villas on the banks and the hills, surrounded by parks and gardens.
Areas - to choose from or to combine
Steep cliffs and mountain walls make that the eastern bank has never been a transit area. It's therefore a rural area with small villages on the coast and hamlets halfway the slopes where it feels as if time has stood still. The best way to experience this is walking the 'Sentiero del Viandante' (Wayfarers Path) that runs all along the coast, passing through and above the villages.
The most known place on the eastern bank is Varenna, connected by boat to Bellagio. Here you find the Castle of Vezio, splendidly situated above the village, and the Villa Monastero on the waterfront. But along the pathways you will find numerous gorgeous spots ranging from ancient houses and watermills to castles, churches and chapels.
Accommodation Eastern coast:
In Bellano, on the eastern shore of the lake, the B&B is an old stonehouse on the Sentiero del Viandante, situated outside the village center and offering a great view over the lake. It is a simple but attractive accommodation with a friendly hostess, speaking English, also giving Italian language courses to strangers.
Breakfast is included and in summer served outside, near the vegetable garden, viewing over the lake.
From the B&B a 5 minutes walk brings you down to a small beach on the lake; great for a swim after a hike in the mountains.
For dinner you will find restaurants in the village center, 15/20 minutes walking distance, but having a pizza delivered is possible as well. The train station, from where you hop on and off the train for the further away stretches of the Sentiero del Viandante, is on 2 km distance.
Hikes on the Eastern coast:
The Sentiero del Viandante (Wayfarers Path) runs along the eastern coast, passing Bellano.
This trail can be split in 4 or 5 stages that you can walk one way or back and forth, thus making hikes from around 5,10 or 20 km. Most of these are easy to do (grade E), some are more demanding (grade EE) due to differences in altitude.
They are all connected by railway and some of them by boat.
The circular walks in the mountains will let you experience the mountain landscape and life in the mountains. You will enjoy alpine meadows, birch forests, rural villages and small hamlets. You will receive vouchers for getting to the start of these hikes.
The triangular piece of land surrounded on two sides by Lake Como and on the third by the plains of the river Po is called the Triangolo Lariano. At its northern point sits Bellagio, famous for its location and called The Pearl of the Lake. For centuries, Bellagio was the only attraction of this piece of land, but nowadays there is a growing interest in the back country as well.
The highest point of the area is Mount San Primo. It guarantees splendid views all around; the snow-topped Alps in the north, the steep Grigna in the east and at sunset the Mon Viso in the west, on the French border.
Just south of the jetty in Bellagio lies Villa Melzi and close to the tip of the promontory is Villa Serbelloni that opens the gardens to the public during the season.
Accommodation Triangolo Lariano:
The B&B in Bellagio is situated in a quiet hamlet, 2 km from the center of the so called 'Pearl of the Lake'.
The village of Bellagio can be very crowded during high season but in the hamlets, in the woods and up in the mountains you will be surrounded by an undisturbed an authentic environment.
The B&B in Art Deco style has a garden with a small swimming pool and the restaurant beneath serves tasty sourdough pizza's.
There are other restaurants nearby and a broad range to choose from in the village.
Hikes on the Triangolo Lariano:
Along the coast of the Triangolo Lariano a trail called Strada Regia runs all the way from Bellagio to Como.
It offers stages of around 10 km each that can be interrupted in between since it touches the through going road a couple of times
(difficulty grade E). Bus and boat connect the different stages.
A circular walk (grade EE) can be made on the San Primo, the highest peak in the area (1680 m) offering great views all around.
From the slopes of the San Primo you can walk your way back to the B&B in Bellagio. These two hikes can be combined or done seperately. Vouchers will be handed to you for getting to the start of these hikes.
Furthermore, easy walks can be done in and around the village, showing different aspects of the so called 'Pearl of the Lake'
(hikes proposed by the village of Bellagio).
The basic package 'nights and hikes' consists of 3 nights in the area of your choice (accommodation based B&B and 2x packed lunches).
You will receive all the information regarding the hikes in this area, consisting of route descriptions, maps, timetables and transfer vouchers for the mountain hikes.
Subsequently you can extend your stay, choosing one of the following options:
extra nights in the current accommodation (based B&B. There are at least 5 hikes in the basic package, so enough for a longer stay.)
nights and hikes on the other shore with a minimum of 3 nights (based B&B and 2x packed lunches).
extra nights on the other shore, accomodation based B&B.
Arrangements can be booked all year round.
Watch the climate table for Lake Como
Best period (weather, tourist flows, services available): April, May, June, September, October.
March and November: Armed with a coat and a mackintosh... Keep an eye on the weather forecast for a great (autumn colors) last minute!
December, Januari, Februari: If you want to have the lake all for yourself and do not mind gloomy days.
July and August: If you like hot weather and do not mind sharing the main attractions with many other tourists.
To possibly avoid: The week around the 15th of August (Ferragosto), when Italians traditionally go on a summer break.
The hikes near the lakeside can be done throughout the year. They are even better off season, when there are few or no leaves on the trees,
thus offering a constant and often stunning view on the lake and the surroundings and there are few turists around.
Due to the mass of water, the altitude (200m) and the protection of the mountains that surround the lake, the area has a sub-tropical micro climat. Therefore snow never lasts for longer than a day and temperatures hardly drop below 0°C.
Bear in mind though that during winter the days are short and in some places on the eastern slopes the sun hardly rises above the mountains.
Besides the lake side hikes, you will be given the route descriptions of hikes in the mountains.
These mountain walks give you a good opportunity to escape to cooler regions when at the lake side temperatures -and number of turists- rise.
Of course, during winter there's less chance of making these hikes since the tracks will probably be covered by snow.
The length of the mountain hikes is approx 10 km but they are generally more demanding than the lake side walks because of the differences in altitude.
Included (nights and hikes):
accommodation based bed and breakfast, packed lunch where mentioned, route descriptions, maps, timetables, transfer vouchers for the mountain hikes, transfer to and from the accommodation on arrival and departure.
GPS-Tracks on request.
Getting there, local transport except other than the ones covered by vouchers, city taxes, meals other than the ones mentioned as included.