External Tour of Como Lake: 6/7 h

Onno

The external (or complete) tour of Lake Como is surely one of the most exciting and pleasant routes that the Lombard land can offer to a passionate cyclist. It is a “classic” and all the champions have done it, either during a race or during a training session. Through this itinerary you can discover the most attractive resorts of the Provinces of Como and Lecco.

 

The starting point is Como: the old Via Regina, that runs along the entire lake, leads to the following villages and little towns: Cernobbio, Moltrasio, Carate Urio, Laglio (where the famous actor George Clooney owns a splendid 18° century mansion: Villa Oleandra), Brienno, Argegno, Sala Comacina (the village opposite the only island in Lake Como: Isola Comacina a tiny square of wooded ground called “the medieval Pompei” and very famous for its marvellous fireworks held at the end of June). Soon afterwards we meet the beautiful Gothic bell tower of Ossuccio, which dates back to 12° century and it is one of the symbols of the artistic beauties of the lake. Then we reach Menaggio, with its typical arcaded houses, the lakeside promenade, its villas and hotels from the “Belle Epoque” and its large parks.

Then there are Gravedona, Domaso (rich in campings: in summer is invaded by a great number of young holidayers coming from Central and Northern Europe), Gera Lario, Colico, Dorio, Dervio, Bellano (famous for its Cà del Diavol - Devil’s House – and its Orrido, where the Pioverna river thunders through a narrow gorge), Varenna (a lively and romantic tourist resort , with many art galleries and the remains of a medieval past), Mandello del Lario (the home of the mythical Moto Guzzi), Lecco (a modern town lying at the end of the eastern branch of the Lake). Going up along the inner coast we find Oliveto Lario, whose name echoes its extraordinary olive oil and Bellagio, the pearl of the lake. Famous for its wonderful position at the end of the promontory which divides the lake in two biforcations, this magical town is still an exclusive and elegant oasis with a mix of colours, streets, and stairways with shops. Coming back to Como we find Lezzeno (due to its particular position, the village can’t see the sun from November to February and the moon for two months during the summer), Nesso (famous for its walnuts) and Torno.

The route is 163 km long and runs through historical towns rich in fabulous villas and gardens at the water’s edge, ancient churches and tiny, medieval villages. Along the way you cross bridges and tunnels, you admire enchanting views of the lake together with numerous waterfalls and streams, you can stop to drink and refresh at ancient fountains: so it’s highly reductive to fix a scheduled time because pedalling along the routes of the lake Como is like to do a journey through nature, time, history, tradition and culture.
We are always kissed by the sun during the entire course and accompanied by a pleasant breeze coming from the lake.

The total slope is of about 110 m, without any steep climbs, rather the course is dotted with a lot of “mangia e bevi”, slang for easy and short rises.