Sentiero del Viandante
Sentiero del Viandante
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saronic
Zurich, Switzerland26,281 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2022
The Sentiero del Viandante is a 68km long hiking trail along a historical mule track going back to Roman times on the eastern flanks of lake Como. There are signposts and railings, all put in place by the Azienda di Promozione Turistica di Lecco in 1992. A most attractive and not too difficult part of this trail, which goes from Abbadia Lariana on lake Como to Morbegno in the Valtellina, is the stretch from Varenna to Bellano, for which one has to count from 2 to 3 hours.

The Sentiero doesn't really touch the coastal villages, so to go from beautiful Varenna to the trail one has to first use the 'Sentiero Scabium' up to the Castello di Vezio. The castle was naturally closed, when we passed by on Xmas day. What we enjoyed though and which also surprised us where the many olive trees that we found here. It is said that they are the northernmost of all Europe. There is in general a rich vegetation with cypresses and chestnut trees, whose leaves have now fallen onto the often cobblestoned path, which makes this slippery in wet weather. In any case hiking boots are recommended.

On the way are chapels, an old mill and stone bridges, but especially some fantastic views over lake Como. We ended our hike in the village of Bellano, which just as Varenna also has a railways station.
Written December 31, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Donna B
Gladwyne, PA419 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023 • Couples
The hike was rather steep and I would not recommend going if the trails are wet without proper footwear. There were good signs, but we still were unable to connect to the trail to Fiume Latte from the Castello. We ended up back near the road and made our way up to the source of the river from there.
Written July 10, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

kpiddy
Brisbane, Australia12,266 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2013 • Couples
If you are looking for something more energetic to do, and a chance to take in the natural beauty of Lake Como, I can highly recommend you seeking out the old mule track on the eastern shore of Lake Como, which dates back to Roman times. The track is approximately 45 kms in length connecting Abbadia Lariana (north of Lecco) with Colico in the north. The track is marked with orange signs, though a watchful eye is most important to avoid taking the wrong turn.

The track passes by old rustic stone villages, churches, woodlands, olive groves, hamlets, castles, streams to cross, with endless number of stunning views over the lake below. It is very important to be prepared for the hike, wear appropriate clothing, footwear, and take plenty of water and snacks, food and drink is only available for purchase in the lakeside villages (Varenna, Bellano, Dervio, etc)

During our week long stay on Lake Como, based in Varenna, we completed some amazing hikes. Varenna was a wonderful place to stay this its great public transport connections: bus, ferry and train. We used a hiking guidebook by Gillian Price, 'Walking the Italian Lakes' for our three afternoon hikes. We completed two of the hikes listed in the guidebook and one in reverse direction, the hikes are challenging and a reasonable level of fitness is required.

1).Varenna to Bellano: 6.2 kms (the reverse direction of this hike we felt is easier)

The ascent from Varenna to the village above, Vezio, is tough on the calves, lots of steps, here there is an old castle which you can choose to visit. Continuing on along the path for the next 2.5 hours, we pass through small villages, and old funicular, before arriving in Bellano. Bellano is a reasonably serviced town: large supermarkets, railway station, restaurants, etc. Bellano is only 4 minutes away from Varenna by train.

2).Bellano to Dervio: 6.2 kms

Starting from the Bellano railway station there is a short walk through the town, past an old cotton mill, a church before a stairway leading up the hill which passes by a gorge, Bellano di orrido. It is a tough climb to get above Bellano and on our way along the track. This walk is more challenging than walk 1, there is an steep variant extension to the hike which takes in the hamlet of Pendaglio, accessible only by foot. Once again great views to be had over Lake Como. After 3 hours of walking we arrive in Dervio, and head down to the lake for a quick look around and a rest by the lake before heading back to the train station. In Dervio there are several restaurants, gelateria to choose from.

Hopefully in the future we may return to take other hikes along this ancient track.

Useful website: http://www.trenord.it/it/home.aspx
http://www.lakecomo.it/escursionismo_e_trekking/il_sentiero_del_viandante

Tip: Where possible, pre-purchase train tickets: in Varenna, seek out Barlotti near the main piazza. In Bellano, tickets can be purchased in the bar below the station, and don't forget to validate your ticket before boarding the train.
Written July 27, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MonyetS
London, UK132 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2015 • Couples
The Sentiero del Viandante is an old mule track running along the eastern edge of Lake Como. The track dates back to Roman times and is marked by small orange signs. The path is 45 km long but the stretch between Varenna and Bellano is just over 6 km long and can be comfortably walked in 2.5 to 3 hours. An informative map of the route is available from the tourist office in Varenna. The most strenuous section is the initial steep track up to Vezio. After that the walk can be made fairly leisurely and there are outstanding views of the lake. One passes olive groves, interesting stone walls and pretty villages and churches. The return train ride from Bellano to Varenna takes a mere 4 minutes.
Written June 8, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mairwen1
United Kingdom9,641 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019 • Couples
A wonderful hiking path that follows the ancient mule trails that once linked Milan and Switzerland. It really is as picturesque as it sounds. The full trail is about 45km. The most popular stretch is from Varenna to Vezio Castle, which is what we did.

The trail is very scenic at points although it becomes closed in with greenery. It is a fairly steep walk although the climb is steady. At times, there are uneven, and roughly made stone stairs which would be easy to slip on if you are not wearing decent walking shoes. You don't need hiking boots but I’d get out my trainers rather than sandals or shoes with thin soles.

GETTING THERE
From Varenna, start at Villa Monastero. Walk alongside the villa (and take the chance to look down at the gardens as you go). Across the road, there is a multi-level carpark and at this point, take the street that runs uphill from the carpark. There is a sign to ‘Castello Di Vezio’. The other ‘Sentiero Del Viandante’ signs along the way will be orange but signage is not always clear or obvious so it can be useful to stop and double-check with others if they pass you. In particular, the path at the top, that diverts to the castle is easy to miss. Look out for two signs on opposite sides of big stone walls. One is a large brown sign with various arrows and the other is a small white sign saying ‘Via al Vezio’. Take the narrow path between the two signs (I have included a photo).

HIGHLIGHT
The views from the castle lookout point are absolutely stunning. Look out also for the castle ghosts – each year they make plaster casts of real-life volunteers and position them around the grounds to make a striking display. Don't stop when you get to the castle. Climb to the top of the central tower. You would think the views couldn't get better but they do, so don't baulk at climbing these final lot of stairs.
If you can, time your visit with the displays of falconry. The castle is also a training centre for birds of prey. Our timing wasn't right and we missed it but this would only have been icing on the cake. The hike was absolutely worth it anyway.
It is worth noting that the castle is usually only open between March and November. There is a café and toilet at the entry point. Entry to the castle & grounds is € 4 (well worth it). Importantly, pick up an information sheet where you pay. There is no information inside so the sheet is really helpful.

OTHER POINTS OF INTEREST
* the tiny town of Vezio with its medieval church, small graveyard, ceramic studio and olive grove.
* dry stone walls along the way – so clever to make these walls without any mortar and with just the weight and compression of the stones keeping them together for so long.
* beautiful wildflowers in the spring and summer months
Written July 14, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

rofly
Durham, NC31 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2017 • Solo
I had done Greenway del Lago di Como walk the day before on the other side of the lake, and the Sentiero is very different. While there is hardly any nature ("green") on the Greenway, on the Sentiero it is very quiet and peaceful for the most part. Wear hiking shoes if you can, as the thick soles will make it easier on your feet to walk over the stones. I had GPS and separately OpenStreetMap maps on my phone, which actually helped a lot to find my way. A lot of the trails are on OpenStreetMap, so at least get screenshots if you don't have internet in Europe.

Because I wanted to time my arrival at Castello di Vezio to see the falcon show, I decided to do the Sentiero in reverse, from Bellano to Varenna. It is also easier to do the transport at the beginning vs. at the end.

I am pretty sure I did not start the path in Bellano in the same place as previous TA reviewers, because I did not go to the Orrido - it was closed the day I went. I do not necessarily recommend what I did because you have to walk on the side of the road, but it worked for me. I turned right as I exited the train station (you are now going North). Take the first right (going East). Walk carefully uphill on that road as it curves around a couple of times, and then you will see the Sentiero sign on the right/uphill side of the road. Do not take any of the stairs that you see before then.

I carefully watched for signs and was able to figure it out for the most part. With leaves on the ground, some signs could not be seen. I got really lost for 20 minutes at the church around Gittana because I couldn't figure out where the path continued. Attention: it goes up behind the clock tower of the church! (thank you OpenStreetMap). From that path, I soon made a right at the T (didn't see any signs either way), although my map seemed to indicate the other way would have worked too. Smooth sailing, although fewer signs after that, although full disclosure I did meet a local resident whom I chatted with and I followed her until close to Vezio castle.

After visiting the Vezio castle, I highly recommend descending into Varenna via the "Scabium" pathway for gorgeous views, including of Varenna from the other side. I would also recommend, halfway down, taking the Greenway dei Patriarchi (heading South) for a little bit to see the beautiful Varenna/English cemetery. Then, backtrack and return to the main path down to Varenna.
Written October 28, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Suomi112
Espoo, Finland55 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2014 • Couples
The Sentiero del Viandante is an ancient merchant trail linking Milan to Switzerland. the whole trail is around 45Km. one can decide to do single or multiple section of the trail.
The train is following the trail and one can always come back to the departure point by train (almost every hour a train is available).
We started in Varenna to Bellano (6.5Km) , had a lunch and continued to Dervio and took a train back to Varenna (1.7 euro/per person).
The hike took around 4+ hours and view was fantastic.
Please note that
1) the first section was better (Varrenna to Bellano) due to the trail condition.
2) no water available between villages
3) walking sticks are recommended
4) Light city hiking type shoes should be sufficient (do not bring your 2kg heavy hiking boots, but do not come with high heel shoes or slippery sole (e.g. tennis/flip-flap)

Written November 28, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ERNIE M
Milawa, Australia367 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2018 • Couples
Great way to spend the day, hiking along deserted paths once used as the only way to get to villages. Essentially old donkey trails. We walked from Varenna to Bellano, visiting il Castello Di Vezio on the way. The track Is about 6 km long and took us about 3.5 hours. We mostly had the track to ourselves and enjoyed amazing views. Old stone walls and farm houses, villages, gnarly old olive trees and always the lake would appear around corners. You need to be reasonable fit and wear good hiking shoes. The trail is well marked, look out for the orange markers, although sometimes they do go missing.
Written May 22, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

627Benjiboy
Australia120 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2014 • Couples
This trek will take approximately two and a half hours to complete. Do not believe the locals who tell you it takes one hour or it takes half an hour. It will take two and a half difficult hours for a person of average fitness, to trek from Varenna to Bellano. The views along the way are sensational. Great sense of achievement after such a trek. When you get to Bellano, eat at Ristorante al Orrido...fantastic feed. Also a great Conad supermarket and deli in Bellano, close to this ristorante.
Written June 13, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

StevenSue
New York City, NY163 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2016 • Couples
We did two sections of this trail from our base in Varenna. Both sections were great. And they each made a solid day hike. The Sentiero del Viandante trail is incredibly well marked. The only exception was one spot from Bellano to Dervio where we found the trail intersected a road with no markings on which way to turn (when you hit that spot, go downhill on the road.). If you ever have a question on whether you are correctly on the trail just remember that it is very frequently marked—if you have gone a ways without seeing a trail marking retrace your steps—but I bet you won’t have to do that.

We first hiked Varenna to Bellano and took the ferry back from Bellano. Ferry times are infrequent from Bellano to Varenna. On the day we were in Bellano there was a ferry to Varenna at 12:25 and the next was not until about 4:15. The trains run hourly back to Varenna, however. But we found ourselves enjoying lunch on the lake by the ferry terminal and just waited for the next ferry.

Varenna to Bellano starts “at the castle”, a good climb by itself. The castle costs a few euros to enter and is definitely worth a visit. Walk up to the top of the castle itself for some great views. From the castle, follow the well marked trail. At the tourist office they say the trail walk will take two hours from the castle to Bellano. Getting to the castle from our hotel was close to an hour walk—largely all uphill. And then we spent some time at the castle. The walk from the castle to Bellano took us closer to 2 and ½ hours. There were frequent views of the lake and frequent views back across the land you had just walked. There were a couple of churches and plazas along the way that made nice stops. We were pooped by the time we got to Bellano but it was a great hike.

For Bellano to Dervio we took the train to Bellano to start the hike. We simply picked up the trail where we left off—10 minutes straight up the stairs from the Orrido, a well marked tourist spot in Bellano. The fact that Orrido is well signed makes finding the trail in Bellano very straightforward.

This walk took just over 2 hours once we reached the start of the trail in Bellano. The trail has lots of great views of Lake Como. There is a great looking restaurant just to the right as the trail hits a road at the bottom of the hill when you arrive in Dervio. Farther up that road (5-10 minutes) you will also see signs for Oasis pizza, a competent pizza place with outdoor seating under some trees.

Each of these hikes on the Sentiero del Viandante were what we look for in Italian day hikes. There are great views. You hike through a combination of new and old villages, sometimes on old paths, sometimes passing villas and some old churches. And they each take a couple hours, but can be comfortably completed in a day—including the public transportation.
Written September 1, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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