Lake Como Hiking Map

>Lake Como Hiking Map

The hills above Bellagio are perfect for hiking – not only are the paths incredibly well-maintained and signposted, but Lake Como and the snow-capped mountains in the distance have a special charm when viewed from the heights. Whether you take to the hills in the summer months, when the mountain air is considerably cooler than down by the lake, or layer up the fleeces on a crisp, clear fall day, communing with nature on the hiking trails around Bellagio is a great way to clear your mind and put things in perspective. The Palazzo owners, the Pertusinis, and many of our in-house team are great hillwalkers both around Lake Como and across Italy. Make sure you get their insider insight on the best routes and the best lunch spots to sample the local mountain fare. 

There are several maps available commercially to help you plan your route. Most are available from booksellers and tourist offices around the lake, but you can also order them in advance of your trip to get an idea of the routes that are possible. Here are a few that we especially like:

Lake Como, Italy – Hiking Map from GlobalMap (1:35,000) available on Amazon or directly from GlobalMap

Lago di Como, Lago di Lugano hiking map #91 from KOMPASS (1:50,000) is available on German Amazon (will ship to the US), through various other sellers on US Amazon or on North Carolina-based map website Omnimap.

The Italian Tourist Office has also published a brochure entitled “Lake Como Trekking” with various routes in and around Lake Como as well as the “rifugio” chalets offering food, drink and lodging. 

We would like to introduce you to two fabulous hikes you can take directly from the Palazzo. The first starts in the hamlet Guggiate and skirts Monte San Primo on its way to the plateau of Bocchetta di Terrabiotta, an easy hike of about 4 hours. The second is a more difficult trek that goes from the hamlet of Brogno all the way to the peak of Monte San Primo. 

The hills above Bellagio are perfect for hiking – not only are the paths incredibly well-maintained and signposted, but Lake Como and the snow-capped mountains in the distance have a special charm when viewed from the heights. Whether you take to the hills in the summer months, when the mountain air is considerably cooler than down by the lake, or layer up the fleeces on a crisp, clear fall day, communing with nature on the hiking trails around Bellagio is a great way to clear your mind and put things in perspective. The Palazzo owners, the Pertusinis, and many of our in-house team are great hillwalkers both around Lake Como and across Italy. Make sure you get their insider insight on the best routes and the best lunch spots to sample the local mountain fare. 

There are several maps available commercially to help you plan your route. Most are available from booksellers and tourist offices around the lake, but you can also order them in advance of your trip to get an idea of the routes that are possible. Here are a few that we especially like:

Lake Como, Italy – Hiking Map from GlobalMap (1:35,000) available on Amazon or directly from GlobalMap

Lago di Como, Lago di Lugano hiking map #91 from KOMPASS (1:50,000) is available on German Amazon (will ship to the US), through various other sellers on US Amazon or on North Carolina-based map website Omnimap.

The Italian Tourist Office has also published a brochure entitled “Lake Como Trekking” with various routes in and around Lake Como as well as the “rifugio” chalets offering food, drink and lodging. 

We would like to introduce you to two fabulous hikes you can take directly from the Palazzo. The first starts in the hamlet Guggiate and skirts Monte San Primo on its way to the plateau of Bocchetta di Terrabiotta, an easy hike of about 4 hours. The second is a more difficult trek that goes from the hamlet of Brogno all the way to the peak of Monte San Primo. 

Sentiero 1

Guggiate – Rovenza – Parco San Primo – Bocchetta Terrabiotta

Total elevation gain: 3700 feet
Difficulty: Easy
Total time: 4 hours

Have the Palazzo team organize a lift to the hamlet of Guggiate in Bellagio, or take Bus C30 from the center of town to the Guggiate stop. Look for the signs for Trail No. 1. This is part of the “Dorsale del Triangolo Lariano” hiking trail that bisects the triangle of land between the two southern branches of the lake and leads from Bellagio all the way to Brunate, a town known as the “Balcony of the Alps” above Como.

From Guggiate’s charming Church of Sant’Andrea, take the road to the right of the gates to Villa Ciceri and follow Trail No. 1, crossing the River Perlo that was used in the past to power the local textile and oil mills. The trail continues past an emergency helicopter pad, a farmhouse overlooking the orchards of Cagnanica and into a thick chestnut forest. (Those who would like to shorten the trip can take Trail No. 5 from here back down to the hamlet of San Giovanni in Bellagio in about one hour). The trail continues on a gently climbing dirt road between meadows and woods passing by the gorgeous park of Villa Mariani, ending in a clearing with an isolated chapel. Follow the paved road until it ends in the village of Paum, pass through the gate and climb through a patch of beech trees until you come to the grassy pastures of Alpe delle Ville.

The trail continues past the stone-clad house of the old Colonia Bonomelli summer camp to the parking lot of Monte San Primo Park. Keep following the red and white signs for Trail No. 1 past the button lift of the Forcella ski area, a great spot for family-friendly skiing in the winter. After traversing a forest of beech trees, continue on the upward path along the mountain ridge and through a grove of alders to beautiful Bocchetta di Terrabiotta at 4500 feet. The views down over the Bellagio promontory and across all three branches of the lake are absolutely stunning – and if you’re lucky, there will be a herd of horses grazing on the pasture to make the photo op all the more picturesque. Enjoy a well-deserved picnic admiring the view and return to the Monte San Primo parking lot, where we can arrange for you to be collected – or take the 15-minute detour to Rifugio Martina for a meal of traditional mountain fare and a glass of local wine!

The Power of Water

Before Lake Como became the destination of choice for the world’s rich and famous, peasants and farmers living in the Bellagio hills had to make do with what they could cultivate on their land and forage in the woods. Many of the rivers leading from the higher elevations into the lake were harnessed by the locals to service cottage industries or more industrial-scale production. The River Perlo, which you will cross on today’s hike, is a case in point. Locals built waterwheels for their “frantoio” mills, extracting the green gold from local olive trees, or to grind chestnuts into flour for dumplings or cakes. Larger currents were harnessed for big textile mills, like the ruins you can see in Menaggio or in Nesso – Lake Como’s thriving silk industry depended on it!

Sentiero 39

Brogno – Nuvolone Viewpoint – Rifugio Martina – San Primo Peak

Elevation gain: 3500 feet
Elevation loss: 1000 feet
Difficulty: EE = for experienced hikers
Total time: 4 hours

This hike is a bit more demanding than the one above. As the trail can get quite slippery (especially after heavy rainfall!) and the vegetation can be quite overgrown as the season wears on, we recommend wearing sturdy hiking boots and long trousers. Have the Palazzo staff arrange transport to the hamlet of Brogno on the Bellagio-Magreglio road and take the Trail No. 39 signs between two pillars. Follow the trail uphill into the wood and continue through elm, maple, beech and birch woods. At the end of a steep stretch you come to the Belvedere Nuvolone – one of the area’s most striking views of Lake Como. Pause here for some photos of the lake from above and a water break, before continuing towards the east.

The trail continues downhill into the Bocchetta del Nuvolone – keep your eyes out for a shrine to the Virgin Mary hewn out of a rock. Follow the signs for Trail No. 39 along the crest, past the houses of Colmenetta and Mount Fopa (3600 feet above sea level) until you reach Rifugio Martina. You will probably be tempted to stop here, rest your legs and dig into an aromatic dish of polenta, but we are pretty sure it will taste even better if you persevere and summit Monte San Primo. This section of the trail is pretty steep and challenging in stretches, but once you reach the top, the view extends (on a clear day!) as far as the Swiss Alps and the rolling hills of Lombardy.

Return to Rifugio San Martino for your well-deserved meal – and a large mug of beer! Our driver will collect you from the nearby Monte San Primo parking lot (about 15 minutes on foot).

San Primo

Legend has it that two brothers, Primus and Felician were legionnaires from the Roman army who became missionaries in the region of Chiemgau near Munich. They preached the gospel and healed the sick with water from a spring with miraculous curative powers. When they returned to Rome, Emperor Diocletian sentenced them to “Damnatio ad bestias”, or condemnation to beasts, and threw them to the bears in the arena. Instead of mauling the brothers to their deaths, the bears laid down at their feet. Over the centuries, the two saints have been venerated particularly in mountainous areas – both on the German-Austrian border near Chiemgau, but also here on Monte San Primo, where the locals erected a church in their honor in the 15th century. The church is long gone – and brother Felician appears to have been forgotten as well! – but the mountain still bears his name.

Sentiero 1

Guggiate – Rovenza – Parco San Primo – Bocchetta Terrabiotta

Total elevation gain: 3700 feet
Difficulty: Easy
Total time: 4 hours

Have the Palazzo team organize a lift to the hamlet of Guggiate in Bellagio, or take Bus C30 from the center of town to the Guggiate stop. Look for the signs for Trail No. 1. This is part of the “Dorsale del Triangolo Lariano” hiking trail that bisects the triangle of land between the two southern branches of the lake and leads from Bellagio all the way to Brunate, a town known as the “Balcony of the Alps” above Como.

From Guggiate’s charming Church of Sant’Andrea, take the road to the right of the gates to Villa Ciceri and follow Trail No. 1, crossing the River Perlo that was used in the past to power the local textile and oil mills. The trail continues past an emergency helicopter pad, a farmhouse overlooking the orchards of Cagnanica and into a thick chestnut forest. (Those who would like to shorten the trip can take Trail No. 5 from here back down to the hamlet of San Giovanni in Bellagio in about one hour). The trail continues on a gently climbing dirt road between meadows and woods passing by the gorgeous park of Villa Mariani, ending in a clearing with an isolated chapel. Follow the paved road until it ends in the village of Paum, pass through the gate and climb through a patch of beech trees until you come to the grassy pastures of Alpe delle Ville.

The trail continues past the stone-clad house of the old Colonia Bonomelli summer camp to the parking lot of Monte San Primo Park. Keep following the red and white signs for Trail No. 1 past the button lift of the Forcella ski area, a great spot for family-friendly skiing in the winter. After traversing a forest of beech trees, continue on the upward path along the mountain ridge and through a grove of alders to beautiful Bocchetta di Terrabiotta at 4500 feet. The views down over the Bellagio promontory and across all three branches of the lake are absolutely stunning – and if you’re lucky, there will be a herd of horses grazing on the pasture to make the photo op all the more picturesque. Enjoy a well-deserved picnic admiring the view and return to the Monte San Primo parking lot, where we can arrange for you to be collected – or take the 15-minute detour to Rifugio Martina for a meal of traditional mountain fare and a glass of local wine!

The Power of Water

Before Lake Como became the destination of choice for the world’s rich and famous, peasants and farmers living in the Bellagio hills had to make do with what they could cultivate on their land and forage in the woods. Many of the rivers leading from the higher elevations into the lake were harnessed by the locals to service cottage industries or more industrial-scale production. The River Perlo, which you will cross on today’s hike, is a case in point. Locals built waterwheels for their “frantoio” mills, extracting the green gold from local olive trees, or to grind chestnuts into flour for dumplings or cakes. Larger currents were harnessed for big textile mills, like the ruins you can see in Menaggio or in Nesso – Lake Como’s thriving silk industry depended on it!

Sentiero 39

Brogno – Nuvolone Viewpoint – Rifugio Martina – San Primo Peak

Elevation gain: 3500 feet
Elevation loss: 1000 feet
Difficulty: EE = for experienced hikers
Total time: 4 hours

This hike is a bit more demanding than the one above. As the trail can get quite slippery (especially after heavy rainfall!) and the vegetation can be quite overgrown as the season wears on, we recommend wearing sturdy hiking boots and long trousers. Have the Palazzo staff arrange transport to the hamlet of Brogno on the Bellagio-Magreglio road and take the Trail No. 39 signs between two pillars. Follow the trail uphill into the wood and continue through elm, maple, beech and birch woods. At the end of a steep stretch you come to the Belvedere Nuvolone – one of the area’s most striking views of Lake Como. Pause here for some photos of the lake from above and a water break, before continuing towards the east.

The trail continues downhill into the Bocchetta del Nuvolone – keep your eyes out for a shrine to the Virgin Mary hewn out of a rock. Follow the signs for Trail No. 39 along the crest, past the houses of Colmenetta and Mount Fopa (3600 feet above sea level) until you reach Rifugio Martina. You will probably be tempted to stop here, rest your legs and dig into an aromatic dish of polenta, but we are pretty sure it will taste even better if you persevere and summit Monte San Primo. This section of the trail is pretty steep and challenging in stretches, but once you reach the top, the view extends (on a clear day!) as far as the Swiss Alps and the rolling hills of Lombardy.

Return to Rifugio San Martino for your well-deserved meal – and a large mug of beer! Our driver will collect you from the nearby Monte San Primo parking lot (about 15 minutes on foot).

San Primo

Legend has it that two brothers, Primus and Felician were legionnaires from the Roman army who became missionaries in the region of Chiemgau near Munich. They preached the gospel and healed the sick with water from a spring with miraculous curative powers. When they returned to Rome, Emperor Diocletian sentenced them to “Damnatio ad bestias”, or condemnation to beasts, and threw them to the bears in the arena. Instead of mauling the brothers to their deaths, the bears laid down at their feet. Over the centuries, the two saints have been venerated particularly in mountainous areas – both on the German-Austrian border near Chiemgau, but also here on Monte San Primo, where the locals erected a church in their honor in the 15th century. The church is long gone – and brother Felician appears to have been forgotten as well! – but the mountain still bears his name.

2018-07-14T17:55:14+00:00June 11th, 2018|Categories: Walks|0 Comments

Leave A Comment