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Lombardy: Lakes Como & Lugano Short Break (Self-Guided)

Alpine trails taking in the highlights of beautiful Lake Como and Lake Lugano in northern Italy. Explore forested valleys, mountain tops and traditional villages as you go. Staying in small family run accommodation diving into local culture.

  • Italy

  • 4 nights
  • Bed and Breakfast
  • Landscape

  • April - October

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Walking grade

Grade 8

Our most challenging trips - hard mountain walking with long rewarding ascents, descents and maybe some scrambling. A good level of fitness, stamina, head for heights and experience of mountain walking is essential. 

Usual daily walks - Distance: 11 miles; Ascent/Descent 1300m; Terrain: varied with rough, rocky and steep trails; Walking Time: 8hrs+ / Long Days. 

The above statistics are generalisations of a day’s keys walk, it does not include distance covered during general sightseeing or daily activity. Detailed information of the daily walking requirements are specified in the specific holidays ‘Daily Itinerary".

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Self-Guided Collection

Expertly planned, flexible walking itineraries, led by you, with accommodation, route plans, and luggage transfers all taken care of by us.

Overview

Holiday Highlights

  • Mountains trails high above lake Como and Lake Lugano
  • Alpine pastures
  • Lakeside town of Menaggio
  • Flexible walks

Straddling Lombardy and Piedmont, the great lakes of northern Italy have been a popular holiday destination since Roman times, evidenced by the array of lavish villas and sumptuous gardens which line the shores. 

Away from the affluent holiday centres is a feast of walking trails which explore the forested valleys, mountain tops and traditional villages which have retained their unique character. The old tracks which cross the mountains on the west side of Lake Como, used even today by the local people to reach the alpine pastures called 'Monti' ('Munt' in the local dialect) have been transformed into a series of way marked trails offering exceptional views. 

This short break  walking program takes in the highlights of Lake Como and Lake Lugano offering a selection walks of varying lengths and difficulty to choose from along the Monti Lariani (Lario being the ancient name of Lake Como).  

With accommodation in small family run hotels there is ample opportunity to experience the excellent regional cuisine allowing a complete appreciation of the area.

  • 4 nights' accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis.
  • Luggage transfer from Menaggio to Porlezza on Day 3.
  • Walks transfer from Menaggio to Cavargna on Day 3.
  • Detailed information pack with route notes in English and maps.
  • Digital walks information via an app.
  • 24 hour assistance in English.
  • Flights.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Any local transport not included in the walking programme.
  • Lunches and dinners.
  • Items of a personal nature such as tips, drinks and phone calls.
  • Local Tourist Tax (where applicable) paid locally.
  • Printed detailed route information (available at an additional charge of £30, and is available at your first hotel).

Holiday Information

Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.

NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen

View Holiday Information Sheet

Tour Codes

66020

Itinerary & Travel

Itinerary Details

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

Your Itinerary

Day 1

Lombardy

Accommodation

Menaggio sits on the shores of Lake Como. The rest of the day is free to explore the town and take in the views of the rugged mountains across the lake. During the following days, take time to explore the small towns, viewpoints, forests on either side of Lake Como, the beautiful gardens of Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo and Villa Melzi in Bellagio.

Day 2

Menaggio- Selection of walks

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

Walk on the Monti Lariani (Lario being the ancient name of Lake Como) with a variety of suggested walks of differing lengths and difficulty.  

WALK A: From Menaggio through the Val Sanagra Nature Reserve

A circular walk starting in Menaggio takes you to the Val Sanagra, an unknown area rich in historical and cultural traces. 

From Menaggio you reach Loveno, a noble village with many Villas, then on to Pianuro a vast pastures still used now by livestock. Then the trail follows the Sanagra stream, a typical alpine water course, with several ancient mills and iron foundries that through time has formed impressive gorges. The walk passes through Barna, a lovely hamlets where time seems to have stopped.  

Challenge: 5 hrs, 9.6 miles, 696m ascent, 695m descent 

WALK B – From Breglia to Monte Grona and Monte Bregagnino

The walk starts in Breglia, a small village above Menaggio reachable by bus. The path reaches two of the most significant peaks of the western side of the Lake: Monte Grona and Mote Bregagnino. From the top of Monte Grona (1736m) you have one of the best views of the Pre Alps; from here you can see the three lakes (Como, Lugano and Piano), and the peaks of Monte Bregagno, Legnone, Pizzo di Gino, Grigne. On clear days you can see the Alps from Monviso to Bernina. There are three different ways to get to the top of the Monte Grona from the Rifugio Menaggio, including an alpine ascent using the “via ferrata”.

Challenge: 6-7hrs., 8.6 miles, 1000m ascent, 1000m descent

WALK C – : From Menaggio to Rezzonico on the Antica Strada Regina

The Antica Strada Regina that leads along the west coast of Lake Como, was built by the Romans. It was an important road connection between Como and the alpine passes. The old trail was used till the end of the 18th century when the current lake road was built. This stretch starts at Menaggio and runs along cobblestoned paths to the characteristic village of Rezzonico. From the top of the hill there are great views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. After the walk return to Menaggio by local bus. 

Challenge: 3 hours, 5.5 miles 330m ascent, 350m descent

Day 3

Cavargna-Porlezza

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

Luggage transferred today from Menaggio to Porlezza

  • Time

    5 hours

  • Distance

    10 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    600/1300m

A morning private transfer takes you to the hill top village of Cavargna from where a spectacular climb takes you to the Church of Saint Lucio, right on the border between Italy and Switzerland. You pass through Monti, a typical mountain hamlet reachable only by 4x4 vehicle. Going down to Molzano you pass next to very striking mountain walls and open views on both Lake Como and Lake Lugano.

A superbly panoramic footpath leads you through woods and meadows 1550m down to Porlezza, situated at the northeast end of the Lake Lugano, and very close to the border. This rural farmland and forest walk with imposing views is one of the area’s highlights. 

Day 4

Porlezza-San Mamete

Meals

Breakfast

Accommodation

  • Time

    5 hours

  • Distance

    7 miles

  • Ascent

    1100m

Today’s walk takes you to the mountains above Lugano lake, a beautiful terrain of forest, waterfalls and tiny villages on the shore of the lake. The start is quite challenging since you are climbing up the steep side of the mountain, but once you make it to the Alpe Vecchio, a really beautiful mountain hut on the plateau, you can relax and admire the landscape. The way down to the village of San Mamete is downhill, through forest and paths to the village of San Mamete. Here take the bus back to Porlezza.

Day 5

Final day

Meals

Breakfast

Your holiday ends after breakfast as you make your way to the airport or your own onward travel

Travel Details

Arrival in Menaggio

From any airport, take the local bus or train to Milano Centrale. There after, to reach Menaggio, you need to take a local train from Milano Centrale to Como San Giovanni. For further information please visit www.trenitalia.it.

If you are landing at Bergamo Orio al Serio (BGY), then you need to take the Airport Bus to the train station in Bergamo. From there, you have to reach Milano centrale or Monza by train, to catch the connection to Como San Giovanni.

Check times on http://www.asfautolinee.it

As an alternative, you can take a local train from Milano Centrale to Varenna and then take a boat to Menaggio.

Departure from Porlezza

On departure from Porlezza, you always have to change either in Menaggio or in Lugano to reach Milano or Bergamo airports.

Accommodation

Accommodation information

Below is an example of the type of accommodation you will be allocated on this holiday. Your final accommodation list will be confirmed on your travel documents, these will usually be with you around two weeks prior to departure.

Hotel Bellavista or similar

The Hotel Bellavista is centrally located in Menaggio and has a very beautiful view of Lake of Como. Rooms are comfortable and some of these have a view on lake (on request). There is free Wi-Fi, private parking, a restaurant and in summer season the swimming pool is open. Breakfast can be served on the veranda in front of the lake. Rooms are en suite and have an in room safe and TV

Hotel Europa or similar

The Hotel Europa in Porlezza, is situated on Lake Lugano and 5 minutes from the beach. The property has a private garden and pier, a fitness centre, a swimming pool and a restaurant with a panoramic terrace. Rooms are furnished in a classic style and are equipped with TV, private bathroom and free Wi-Fi.  

Trip Information

All the details you need

Holiday Grade

Our most challenging trips - hard mountain walking with long rewarding ascents, descents and maybe some scrambling. A good level of fitness, stamina, head for heights and experience of mountain walking is essential. 

Usual daily walks - Distance: 11 miles; Ascent/Descent 1300m; Terrain: varied with rough, rocky and steep trails; Walking Time: 8hrs+ / Long Days. 

The above statistics are generalisations of a day’s keys walk, it does not include distance covered during general sightseeing or daily activity. Detailed information of the daily walking requirements are specified in the specific holidays ‘Daily Itinerary".

Spending Money

Holiday Budgeting

As you plan your holiday budget, it's essential to account for expenses such as drinks, meals not covered in the holiday price, entrance fees not included, optional local excursions, and any souvenirs or additional services like laundry. For a rough estimate, budgeting around £10-£20 per person per day for lunches and drinks is a helpful guideline.

If your holiday does not include dinners (see itinerary) we recommend budgeting an additional £25-30 per day.

Currency in Italy

The currency in Italy is the Euro.

Tipping

Tips are not included in the holiday price. Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high.  We strongly recommend when receiving good service you make a tip to the local supplier.

Your Travel Details

Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements

Arrival in Menaggio

From any airport, take the local bus or train to Milano Centrale. There after, to reach Menaggio you need to take a local train from Milano Centrale to Como San Giovanni. For further information please visit www.trenitalia.it.

If you are landing at Bergamo Orio al Serio (BGY), then you need to take the Airport Bus to the train station in Bergamo. From there, you have to reach Milano centrale or Monza by train, to catch the connection to Como San Giovanni.

Check times on http://www.asfautolinee.it

As an alternative, you can take a local train from Milano Centrale to Varenna and then take a boat to Menaggio.

Departure from Porlezza

On departure from Porlezza, you always have to change either in Menaggio or in Lugano to reach Milano or Bergamo airports.

Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents

Should you have decided to book any overseas flight arrangements through us, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be clearly outlined in your 'Final Travel Documents'. These will be sent to you approximately 10 days before your departure, ensuring you have all the necessary information for a smooth and well-prepared journey.

Personal Details Check

To ensure the accurate administration of your holiday arrangements, kindly verify that the personal details we have for you are current and correct. Confirm that you've given us all the necessary information for securing your travel and accommodation. Please review your passport details, date of birth, and any other pertinent information crucial for the management of your holiday.

Additionally, please make us aware of any dietary allergies or intolerances you may have. Your well-being is important to us, and this information will help us make appropriate arrangements for your meals during the trip.

You can access and update the provided information or add missing details through the "Manage My Booking" feature on our website at www.rambleworldwide.co.uk. Alternatively, reach out to our Sales and Reservations team at +44 (0)1707 331133. Upon receiving your booking confirmation, promptly check the details. Your cooperation ensures a seamless and enjoyable holiday experience.

Documentation

After booking your holiday, expect to receive a confirmation and holiday information sheet soon after.

Once you've settled your balance, about 2 weeks before your holiday, you'll get instructions on how to log into your ActiveNav App. Grab your Apple or Android smartphone and head to the app store for a quick download. Once installed, the app grants you access to all route information and provides guidance on how to navigate it.

Around 2 weeks prior to your departure, you'll also get a destination manual & road book. This comprehensive guide includes detailed information on your walking route and interesting facts about the areas you'll stay in. Alongside, a trip voucher will confirm all the services booked for you, complete with the names and addresses of your hotels and other service providers. Be prepared to present this voucher as confirmation at your accommodations, and don't forget to bring along a valid form of ID.

Passports and Visas

European Passport Advice

If you are planning to travel to an EU country (except Ireland), or Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or Vatican City, you must meet the Schengen area rules.

Your passport must meet 2 requirements. It must be:

  • less than 10 years old on the day you enter (check the ‘date of issue’)
  • valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’)

For some Schengen countries your passport may need to be less than 10 years old during your whole visit, and the 3 months at the end of your visit may need to be within 10 years of your passport’s issue date.

Check both the issue date and the expiry date in your passport. If you renewed your passport early, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. This could affect the requirement for your passport to be less than 10 years old.

Non British Passport holders should consult the host country’s embassy for applicable passport and visa entry requirements.

Meals

In general all of our self-guided holidays are on a bed and breakfast basis with breakfast provided at your accommodation. Depending on the route you are walking and access to local services such as restaurants, cafes and supermarkets, your itinerary may include packed lunches, dinners or a mix of both. Please refer to the individual itinerary and what is included for accurate information.

Footwear & Kit List

Footwear

Footwear is a walker’s personal choice; however, we strongly suggest good quality waterproof walking boots with a moulded sole with a deep tread and good ankle support for holidays grade 7 and above.

Luggage Transfers

On a self guided holiday, the days you walk from one property to another, your main luggage will be transferred for you as part of your holiday arrangements. This leaves you free to just carry what you need for the day. Please refer to your individual itinerary for which days your luggage will be transferred. Before you leave your accommodation in the morning, please speak with your host for where the luggage should be left and by what time. 

General Kit List

Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.

If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:

  • Day sack (this should be able to carry all you would need for the day's activity)
  • Day sack liner
  • Waterproof jacket (Goretex or similar) and trousers
  • Compass
  • Map case
  • Whistle
  • Lightweight quick-drying trousers
  • Walking T-shirt/shirts
  • Walking socks
  • Fleece or jumper
  • Sun hat, sunglasses, lip salve and sun screen
  • Warm hat and gloves (if appropriate)
  • Water bottle - at least 2 litre capacity (more may be required)
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Lunchbox
  • Walking poles (should you find them useful)
  • Sit mat
  • Head torch
  • Survival bag - What is a survival bag? Click here!
  • Bothy
  • Mobile
  • Power Bank for charging mobile if needed.
  • Phone charging lead

This list is not exhaustive, and every walker is different and may have their own preference.

Travel Documents Checklist

Documents and Information to take with you:

  • Passport (make sure it's yours and valid)
  • Your travel tickets or e-ticket itinerary
  • Any visa or electronic travel authorisation (if required)
  • Holiday money
  • Credit or debit cards (and separate details of who to call if lost)
  • Car parking ticket and car park directions (if prebooked)
  • Coach or rail travel tickets (if prebooked)
  • Your holiday Booking Confirmation document
  • Your travel insurance details
  • Alternative form of identification (such as a driving licence)
  • Photocopy of the personal details pages of your passport
  • A valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if relevant
  • Details of any medical condition or allergy your holiday leader should know about

Electricity in Italy

Electricity in Italy is supplied at 220 Volts. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a European two pin adaptor with round pins. More information can be found at https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/

Water To Go

Opting for filtered water from a reusable bottle with its built-in water filter, like the Water-to-go bottle available at www.watertogo.eu, is a sustainable alternative to single-use sealed water bottles. Simply refill it from any water source and contribute to saving the environment from disposable plastic bottles.

Exciting news: Water-to-go has introduced two new bottles to their collection. The Active bottle is designed to fit bike water bottle holders, and the Sugarcane bottle is an even more planet-friendly option. Crafted from fibrous cane, a by-product of liquid extraction, it undergoes a process to create plant-based plastic. Explore the details on the Water-to-Go website for this innovative new range.

As a token of appreciation for your commitment to the environment, we've secured an exclusive 15% discount with Water-to-Go for you. Visit www.watertogo.eu and use the code RWH17 during your order.                        

Note: If you're booked on a long-haul holiday you'll receive a complimentary Water to Go bottle, sent to your home address 2 or 3 weeks before your holiday. Thank you for being a part of our sustainable journey!

Maps, Guidebooks & Other Information

Weather

Visit the following websites for an idea of the climate in your destination:

Staying Healthy On Holiday

Health requirements in destination can change, and it's crucial for you to take responsibility in staying informed. Ensure that you consult a professionally qualified source and comply with any health requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before your departure. Your GP can provide advice on vaccinations. Stay proactive about your health preparations to ensure a safe and enjoyable travel experience.

Health Advice for Italy

No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to Italy.

You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK. 

You may wish to consider immunisations against Tetanus and Tick-borne Encephalitis.

Further Travel Advice

For further advice please visit:

You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.

Travel Insurance

It’s a condition of booking that you obtain adequate travel insurance, from a reputable provider, to undertake the holiday, including UK trips chiefly due to the cancellation element of cover.

The policy must cover the period from the date of booking to the last day of your trip and should include, as a minimum, cover for: medical expenses (including the consequences of a Covid positive test result), mountain rescue including helicopter rescue, death, repatriation, cancellation and curtailment and shall not have exclusion clauses limiting cover for the activities you will partake in on your trip, including altitudes reached in the holiday arrangement. It is your responsibility to check that your policy is adequate for the nature and destination of the holiday booked.

Once you have obtained your travel insurance, please provide us with the name of your travel insurer, the policy number and the insurer’s 24 hour emergency assistance number.

In the event that you fail to obtain suitable Travel Insurance we shall not be liable for any costs incurred or claims made against us due to your failure to comply with this term.

If travelling outside the UK you must carry proof of insurance with you and produce it if reasonably requested to do so by RWH Travel staff, tour leaders or suppliers. No refunds will be made should you be excluded from the walking programme through being uninsured or you being unable to demonstrate that you are insured.

Our house broker MPI should be considered for whom we are an affiliate and contact information is on our website and will be referred to in your booking confirmation.

If you are travelling to an EU country or Switzerland please also ensure that you have either an existing valid EU EHIC card (European Health Insurance Card) or a valid UK GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card). You can apply for a UK GHIC free of charge on the NHS website at https://services.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/cra/start.

EHIC & GHIC Cards

Starting January 1st, 2021, you, as a UK traveller, can continue using your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) throughout its valid five-year period, granting you access to medical assistance during your holiday until its expiry date. Be aware, though, that this coverage will no longer extend to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland. In case you don't have a valid EHIC, you can apply for a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which will replace the EHIC as it gets phased out.

It's essential to emphasize that the EHIC/GHIC, while valuable, should not be regarded as a substitute for comprehensive medical or travel insurance. For your peace of mind and comprehensive coverage, considering additional insurance is highly recommended.

For more information, please visit www.nhs.uk/ehic

Personal Safety

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office is your go-to for the latest info on security, local laws, and the nitty-gritty of passports and visas at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Make sure to take a quick peek at the current advice for your upcoming destination—it'll only take a few minutes.

When you're out and about, stay aware of your surroundings. Take smart precautions with your credit cards and passport, and maybe tone down the flashy accessories. Less is more, especially when it comes to carrying cash—just enough for the day will do. Consider using a money belt for that extra layer of security. Stay alert, stay safe, and make the most of your travels!

Cultural Awareness

Italian Laws & Customs

In some Italian towns and cities you may be fined for dropping litter and in some towns or cities it’s an offence to sit on monument steps or to eat and drink in the immediate vicinity of main churches, historic monuments and public buildings. It’s also an offence to enter or bathe in public fountains.

In May 2019, the Municipality of Capri introduced a law forbidding the use of any disposable plastic objects such as bags, cutlery, plates, cups, food packaging, trays, straws on the island of Capri. Violations can incur a fine of up to 500 euros.

Illegal traders operate on the streets of all major Italian cities, particularly tourist cities like Florence, Venice and Rome. Don’t buy from illegal street traders. You could be stopped by the local police and fined.

It is illegal to remove sand, shells or pebbles from coastal areas in Italy. Doing so may result in heavy fines. It’s also forbidden to collect various species of flowers, plants and herbs from mountain and wooded areas. For more information, check with the regional authorities of the area you’re visiting.

The Ramble Worldwide Outdoor Trust

Unlike many other tour operators, we take pride in our unique approach. Ramble Worldwide channels its surplus profits back into various outdoor, walking-related, or environmental conservation projects in the UK through our own trust. When you choose us, you contribute to this impactful initiative.

The Ramble Worldwide Outdoor Trust is passionate about making the outdoors more accessible for more people from all communities. We grant funds to many organisations and have recently partnered with Mind Over Mountains, Adaptive Grand Slam and other groups to create an enduring impact on people’s lives and to support them to enjoy the outdoors. In addition, the Trust makes many small grants to local organisations such as Ramblers Groups, Walkers are Welcome, My kind of Books and recently provided a small grant, via his scouting group, to enable a young man whose family had fallen on hard times to complete his DofE Gold award.

Patron of the Trust is the renowned explorer, Mark Wood. Over 20 years Mark has undertaken expeditions to some of the most remote parts of our planet. Our shared values make for an exciting partnership, and we believe that by standing shoulder to shoulder we can encourage people from all communities to enjoy being active outdoors in whatever way suits them best.

For more comprehensive details, please visit the 'About' section on our website and click on the Charitable Trust link. Your choice to travel with us goes beyond a memorable vacation; it contributes to meaningful projects that have a positive impact on our community and environment.

Heart and Sole

We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.

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Italy

  • Capital

    Rome

  • Currency

    Euro

  • Language

    Italian

  • Time Difference

    UTC +02:00

  • Flight duration

    2.5hrs from UK

Visas and Passports

No Visa Required

Average weather

  • January

    6°C

    Avg. Rain: 67mm

  • February

    7°C

    Avg. Rain: 62mm

  • March

    9°C

    Avg. Rain: 63mm

  • April

    12°C

    Avg. Rain: 61mm

  • May

    16°C

    Avg. Rain: 56mm

  • June

    20°C

    Avg. Rain: 47mm

  • July

    22°C

    Avg. Rain: 35mm

  • August

    22°C

    Avg. Rain: 48mm

  • September

    20°C

    Avg. Rain: 64mm

  • October

    15°C

    Avg. Rain: 89mm

  • November

    10°C

    Avg. Rain: 96mm

  • December

    7°C

    Avg. Rain: 82mm

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