Sentiero del Viandante: one of the most enchanting itineraries on Lake Como
The Wayfarer's Path it is one of the most enchanting itineraries of Lake Como and the whole of Lombardy.
It is a fascinating route 45 km long suspended between the mountains and the Lecco shore of the lake, which offers breathtaking views and brings to mind Manzoni's words: "…that branch of Lake Como which faces south, between two uninterrupted chains of mountains, all with bays and gulfs, depending on how they protrude and recede…“
And it is precisely along this branch that a path runs halfway between woods and lake-view terraces planted with olive groves, small villages and their mountain hamlets: the Wayfarer's Path.
The Wayfarer's Path: between nature, history and culture
The route starts from Abbadia Lariana, in the province of Lecco, to reach 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.
Walk the Wayfarer's Path it means taking a real leap into the past.
It is in fact a system of ancient mule tracks that were once the only connection between the towns on the banks of the Lario and their mountain hamlets.
Paths they have seen ancient generations of farmers, fishermen And wayfarers travel these streets in a continuous up and down 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.
Wayfarer's Path: what can you expect?
In addition to the wonderful panoramic sceneries along the trail you encounter enchanting perched villages on the shores of the lake, small mountain villages, interesting historical and faith testimonies, including castles, old mills, wash houses, little churches And votive chapels.
In addition to these beauties we also find naturalistic corners of rare beauty such asravine of Bellano (see stage 3) and the Cenghen waterfall (detour stage 1).
How to walk the Wayfarer's Path
Given the length of the itinerary (45km) and differences in altitude ranging from 400m to 800m we advise you to follow it in 4 stages (to which it is possible to add the so-called "stage 0" of 7km), following the orange plaques along the path:
- Stage 0 (recently added and not included in the original route of the Trail): from Lecco to Abbadia Lariana – travel time: 2 hours
- Stage 1: from Abbadia Lariana in Lierna – travel time: 3.30 hours.
- Stage 2: from Lierna to Varenna/Vezio – travel time: 3.30/4 hours depending on the variant chosen
- Stage 3: from Varenna/Vezio to Dervio – travel time: 4.30 hours
- Stage 4: from Dervio in Colico/Piantedo -travel time: 5.20 hours
The division 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 preparation from expert hikers and is suitable for everyone, but let's not forget that the mountains here rise suddenly and if you think of taking a simple walk by the lake you are not in the right place, especially in the second and fourth stages.
Equip yourself with a good pair of trekking shoes, supply of water and food and let yourself be enchanted by the enchantment of Lake Como.
And don't forget to dedicate the time available not only to walking but also to contemplating what you will find before your eyes.
If you are not planning a 5-day stay on Lake Como and want to do the excursion in one day, the best way to enjoy every single stage is to reach your destination and then return to the starting point by train.
There presence of the Lecco-Colico railway connection it is a significant advantage that gives the possibility of carrying out the Wayfarer's Path over time and even in different seasons, to experience Lake Como in all its facets.
Path of the Wayfarer: in which season is it best to do it?
Being at a relatively modest altitude and having good exposure, the itinerary is practicable at any time of the year.
However, if you are wondering when is the best time to do it, we recommend Spring and Autumn, when nature is in full bloom in the months of April and May or when the woods catch fire in all shades of orange and red, between mid-October and the end of November.
Winter can also offer extraordinary days, with the crisp air and clear skies of the first months of the year offering glimpses of touching beauty with the snow-capped peaks reflected in the lake.
In summer, however, the temperatures can be decidedly high for walking 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 you then take into account that you 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 the effort, we can rightly also include Summer as the season to enjoy this path (one of the most enchanting beaches on this side of the lake is certainly the Riva Bianca of Lierna).
In short, every month can offer unique emotions, the choice is yours!
Below we report the different stages with their technical specifications and the most interesting places not to be missed along the way.
Path of the Wayfarer: in which season is it best to do it?
Now you have all the information you need to embark on your short but intense journey!
All you have to do is 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.