May, 24 2016 ( Updated August, 09 2017)
Commonly known for its historical and cultural attractions, Lake Como also happens to be a favourite destination for those who love adventure and an active holiday. And why shouldn’t it be? Set against the rugged, forested foothills of the Alps, the Lake Como region offers a variety of hiking and walking trails nestled in these mountains. The beautiful setting, the perfect weather and the less-explored attractions of the destination tempt tourists to go up on the mountains and venture beyond the obvious. We bring you a list of hiking trails around Menaggio, a famous lake town known for its touristic infrastructure and natural beauty.
1. Rifugio Menaggio- Monte Grona
Difficulty level: Steep ascent
The trail which begins from Bregalia, a short distance from Menaggio, is less than two hours of hiking to Rifugio Menaggio, situated at a height of 1400m on the southern slope of Monte Grona. Outdoor enthusiasts can extend the trip further up on Monte Grona (1736 m) and Monte Bregagno (2107m). Along the trail, you cross a number of fountains and picnic areas located amidst beautiful sceneries and spectacular views of the Lake Como landscape.
Highlight: Fifteen minutes from the rifugio is a viewpoint called Pizzo Coppa from where you can view the entire Menaggio valley including Lake Como, Lake Lugano and Lake Piano.
2. Hike to Park Val Sangara
Difficulty level: Easy to moderate
There are a number of hiking routes to reach this area which is rich in flora, fauna and antique rural settlements. On the way, hikers cross river Sanagra and the walk continues after crossing the bridge. Depending on which route you take you either come across traces of traditional activities like mills, lime-pits and furnaces or through the woods. In case you choose the latter, don’t forget to notice Il Rogolone, an enormous oak tree in the middle of a clearing in the woods.
Highlight: The routes are full of churches, chapels, hamlets, beautiful patrician houses and villas.
3. Monti Di Nava
Difficulty level: Steep ascent from Croce to Nava
This is one of the more difficult trails which takes about 4 hours to complete, but it is totally worth it. The trail offers marvellous views of the Menaggio valley, central lake areas and surrounding mountains. On the way, you cross a number of churches, woods and rural settlements.
Highlight: You will encounter the most beautiful view of the peninsula of Lavedo and the towns of Tremezzo, Mezzegra and Lenno on the course of your trail.
4. La Crocetta and the trenches of the First World War:
Difficulty level: Easy
The hiking trail which takes less than an hour to complete promises a lovely view of Menaggio and the central lake area from the top of the hill. The trail starts from Croce, the highest village in elevation in the commune of Menaggio, where you can find a typical sixteenth-century square. On your way, you also cross the Menaggio-Cadenabbia golf club, one of the oldest golf courses in Italy.
USP: A network of trenches spread just before you reach Crocetta which was a part of the great defence line built in 1915 along the Swiss-Italian border.
5. The Antica Strada Regina
Difficulty level: Steep ascent in some parts.
The trail begins from Menaggio from the lake promenade beyond the lido and continues for about 3 hours. On the way, you cross tunnels, the river Serio, famous villas, fishermen’s villages and a number of churches. Finally, you reach Antica Strada Regina which was built during the Roman Empire and served as an important connection between the north and south side of the Alps for centuries.
USP: As you cross Antica Strada Regina, you will find small kitchen gardens( for growing local vegetables and fruits for domestic use) and fountains. When you descend down the cobbled stone paths to the lakeside you will find a picturesque harbour.
There are half a dozen more hiking trails from Menaggio which can be explored during your Lake Como vacation. You can read more about them on the official tourism website of Menaggio. The lake town offers lovely accommodation options to suit all kinds of budgets and makes for a perfect base to pursue these interesting hiking trails.