Most guests with an affinity for hiking come to Crotto Dangri at some point: by car to Livo, then on foot. The path is well signposted and can be used by people who have access to it, so it is easy to walk. Later on, it leads along a mountain stream that has more or less water depending on the season. After about an hour you reach the Crotto with its simple but tasty regional cuisine. The path is partly shaded by trees, partly it leads openly along the slope. At the finish point, there are some pools of water in the river that invite you to take a cool dip in summer. The trail is part of the Via dei Monti Lariani and can be followed further in either direction.
Gravedona’s picturesque lakeside promenade with its renovated houses painted in Italian colours is a magnet for visitors. The municipality is aware of the importance of the place for the northern lake and therefore provides the necessary structures that tourists increasingly expect as well. A small supermarket on the shore road supplies guests and residents with everyday necessities, several ice cream parlours and many restaurants sweeten the stay. The economy of the village was originally based on fishing, agriculture and goldsmithing.
The highlight of the year is the lake festival on 14 August with the awarding of decorated fishing boats (Lucie) and a large fireworks display. For flower lovers, there is no way around Palazzo Gallio on Easter weekend, which can only be visited during events.
The old municipality of Menaggio is located in the middle part of Lake Como and offers an attractive lakeside promenade as well as a historic old town a little above and some hotels and restaurants. Menaggio can be reached by bus from Sorico and can also serve as a starting point for the boat trip to Bellaggio or Varenna, which are directly on the opposite side of the lake. There are also some beautiful spots in nature above the municipality.
The small mountain village of Codera is the only permanently inhabited village in Italy that cannot be reached by car or cable car. Except by helicopter, the only option is to visit the hamlet on foot.
The ascent starts at a car park in Novate Mezzola, where the first third is steeply uphill, with about 300 metres of altitude to climb on natural stone steps. Inexperienced hikers easily reach their limits here.
After that, the trail continues rather straight until you reach Codera after about 3.6km. Here you will find a small village that is lively, at least in summer, and offers three restaurants for hungry hikers. From here you can continue hiking to the scout camp or Rifugio Bresciadega, for example.
On Komoot you can find a digital map of the walking tour.
The Val di Mello is a paradise for various mountain sports enthusiasts as well as for those who simply want to enjoy the tranquillity of the idyllic valley on a long walk – at least in the low season. The granite flanks can be climbed and the high mountains around invite you to go on mountain hikes. There are also several inns in the valley, but in the low season you should find out beforehand whether they are open before you expect too much.
An insider tip for those who don’t want to walk so much: in San Martino you can buy a pass for €10, which allows you to drive the 30 minutes or so from San Martino to the valley.
The beautiful town of Varenna on the central part of Lake Como can be reached either by car or by liner, which departs from Colico or Domaso, for example.
Particularly worth seeing are the many houses lined up along the shore and the small alleyways, through which you can only get on foot. The stone beaches and the seaside resort of Varenna also invite you to swim. Last but not least, Villa Monastero and its botanical garden are also worth a visit.
The abbey is located on a peninsula in the north-east of Lake Como near Colico. In addition to the 13th-century monastery building and the monastery garden, which is well worth seeing with a good view of the west side of the lake, the monks also sell home-distilled schnapps, their own honey and other home-made goods.
The picturesque village of Piona itself is also worth a visit.