Path of the Wayfarer

Sentiero del Viandante: one of the most enchanting itineraries on Lake Como

The Path of the Wayfarer it is one of the most enchanting itineraries of Lake Como and of the whole of Lombardy.

It is a fascinating 45 km long route suspended between the mountains and the Lecco shore of the lake, which offers breathtaking views and brings back to mind Manzoni's words: "…that branch of Lake Como which turns south, between two uninterrupted chains of mountains, all in sinuses and gulfs, according to the protrusion and indentation of those…

And it is precisely along this branch that a path runs along the hillside between woods and terraces overlooking the lake planted with olive groves, small villages and their mountain hamlets: the Path of the Wayfarer.

The Sentiero del Viandante: between nature, history and culture

The route starts from Abbadia Lariana, in the province of Lecco, to get up to Sanctuary of the Madonna di Valpozzo in Piantedo in the province of Sondrio, at the gates of Valtellina.

In the spring of 2021, a new stretch was also inaugurated: the one between the city of Lecco and Abbadia Lariana, the so-called "stage 0“, which thus enriches the original path.

Travel the Path of the Wayfarer it means taking a real leap into the past.

It is in fact a system of ancient mule tracks which were once the only connection between the towns on the shores of the Lario and their mountain hamlets.

Trails they have seen ancient generations of peasants, fishermen And wayfarers follow these paths in a continuous ups and downs between the shores of the lake and the mountains of Lecco.

The itinerary deserves to be followed not only for the beauty of its landscapes, but also because it leads us to the rediscovery of our territory in a union between art, nature And culture.

Sentiero del Viandante: what can you expect?

In addition to the wonderful scenic sceneries along the trail meet enchanting perched villages on the shores of the lake, small villages of mountain, interesting historical and faith testimonies, among which castles, old mills, washhouses, he asked And votive chapels.

In addition to these beauties we also find naturalistic corners of rare beauty such as theravine of Bellano (see stage 3) and the Cenghen waterfall (detour from stage 1)

How to walk the Sentiero del Viandante

Given the length of the itinerary (45km) and altitude differences ranging from 400m to 800m, we advise you to follow it 4 stages (to which it is possible to add the so-called "stage 0" of 7km), following the orange-colored plates found along the path:

  • Stage 0 (recently added and not included in the original itinerary of the Trail): from Lecco to Abbadia Lariana – walking time: 2 hours
  • Stage 1: from Abbadia Lariana to Lierna – journey time: 3.30 hours.
  • Stage 2: from Lierna to Varenna/Vezio – journey time: 3.30/4 hours depending on the variant chosen
  • Stage 3: from Varenna/Vezio to Dervio – journey time: 4.30 hours
  • Stage 4: from Dervio to Colico/Piantedo - journey time: 5.20 hours

The subdivision into 4 stages is generic and depends a lot on your physical condition and how you want to live the experience.

Preparation of the Wayfarer's path

The itinerary does not require the preparation of expert hikers and is suitable for everyone, but let's not forget that the mountains here rise abruptly and if you are thinking of taking a simple walk to the lake you are not in the right place, especially in the second and fourth stages.

Equip yourself with a good pair of hiking shoes, supply of water and food and let yourself be enchanted by the charm of Lake Como.

And don't forget to dedicate the time available to you not only to walk but also to contemplate what you will find before your eyes.

If you are not planning a 5-day stay on Lake Como and want to take the day trip, the best way to enjoy each stage is to reach your destination and then return to the starting point by train.

There presence of the Lecco-Colico railway connection is a considerable advantage that gives the possibility to carry out the Path of the Wayfarer after some time and even in different seasons, to experience Lake Como in all its facets.

Sentiero del Viandante: in which season is it better to do it?

Being at a relatively modest altitude and having a good exposure, the itinerary is practicable at any time of the year.

But if you are wondering when is the best time to travel it, we recommend Spring and Autumn, when nature is in full bloom in the months of April and May or when the woods are ablaze with all shades of orange and red, between mid-October and the end of November.

Even Winter can offer extraordinary days, with the crisp air and clear skies of the first months of the year offering glimpses of moving beauty with the snow-capped peaks reflected in the lake.

In summer, on the other hand, the temperatures can be decidedly high to walk the path, but if you take advantage of the early hours of the day or the late afternoon, you could be rewarded with a wonderful sunrise or an unforgettable sunset.

If one then takes into account that one can relax in the cool of the woods and on the lake there are several places where you can stop for a swim regenerating after fatigue, we can rightly include Summer as a season to enjoy this path (one of the most enchanting beaches on this side of the lake is certainly the Riva Bianca di Lierna).

In short, every month can give unique emotions, the choice is yours!

We report below the different stages with their technical specifications and the most interesting places not to be missed along the way.

In conclusion

Now you have all the information you need to embark on your short but intense journey! 

You just have to start walking following the orange plaques that mark the path along the entire route and let yourself be transported to this wonderful shore of Lake Como.

We thank the author Manuela Brunello, the blonde with the suitcase for the article, here is her personal Instagram profile. While Road to Lombardy is his page to discover some places to visit in Lombardy.