Stumbling across The Greenway Walk on Lake Como was one of the most interesting adventures on our trip to Italy. The path is a little-known secret of the lake, but certainly one which is worth discovering!
While staying in the stunningly picturesque village of Varenna, on the eastern edge of Lake Como, The Bestie and I decided to take a walk away from the usual tourist areas. We were nearing the end of our Italian Adventure, so we were feeling a little more confident in our ability to travel independently.
Thanks to some savvy research before we left home, we’d discovered a path called The Greenway Walk, which runs about 10 kilometres along the western shore of the lake, from Cadenabbia down to Colonno. The information I found indicated that the walk should take around 3.5 hours and that the elevation was up to 100 metres. Knowing we would have limited time, we decided to do the section of the walk between Villa Carlotta at Tremezzo and Villa Balbianello at Lenno, which is perhaps the most picturesque section, and only about 3.5 kilometres long.
Setting out across Lake Como
After a hearty breakfast at our hotel, Albergo Milano, we headed off from Varenna to Villa Carlotta on the ferry, which took about 30 minutes, as we called at the trendy lakeside town of Bellagio on the way. We certainly didn’t mind the stopover, as the lake is just so breathtakingly beautiful, we wanted to see as much of it as possible. Taking the ferry is the cheapest way to sightsee around the lake.
Villa Carlotta is located just north of Tremezzo. The villa and its gardens were just beautiful. Being spring, the garden was a picture with full blooms of azaleas, tulips, camellias, pansies, rhododendrons and many other colourful flowers, as well as green, green grass.
Finding the Greenway Walk
After visiting the villa, we stopped for a morning gelati – we needed sustenance for the walk :). We then located the metal footpath marker which indicated we were on the Greenway Walk.
On the map, it doesn’t look too far, but part of the walk diverts from along the even path of the lakeside and goes up, up, uphill into a little village called Mezzegra. The village was lovely, but eerily quiet, almost deserted. We only saw one person there – it was as though nobody lived in the village. There was a very large cemetery next to the church, which led us to speculate on the fate of the former residents! We then realised that we had passed very few fellow walkers along the path and decided we best be on our way.
The view of the lake from this village was quite spectacular. However, we were a little breathless, having envisaged a leisurely walk along the fairly level lake’s edge. Soon after the village, the walk lead us downhill again, along a steep and sometimes mossy path. This section of thw walk was a little unnerving at times, so we were pleased to reach the level footpath beside the lake.
Stunning Lakefront Villas
We passed several incredible lakefront villas, where The Bestie and I paused and sighed. Next, we wandered into the village of Lenno, near where Villa Balbianello is located. It was almost two hours later (and we had covered a distance of just 3.5kms!). We found a little lakeside restaurant, where we enjoyed a toasted panini and cold drink. We were very happy to sit and have some lunch by that stage … and use their bathroom of course.
After our lunch, we set off for the beautiful Villa Balbianello, supposedly an easy 1km walk! It was definitely more than 1km, and most of it was uphill! We were rather tired when we arrived at the villa. We had a good look around the stunning gardens. As we just missed the English-speaking tour of the villa, we wandered around the outside of the beautiful building. The home has featured in Casino Royale and Star Wars Episode II. The villa was also featured in an old movie called A Month by the Lake.
We then opted to take the water taxi back to Lenno to catch our ferry back to Varenna. This was a MUCH easier option, and gave us a lovely view of the villa as we sped off. We fantasised about travelling around the lake in our boat on a regular basis. In less than 10 minutes, we arrived at the Lenno jetty … our bubble was burst!
In case you’re wondering … YES, this is very close to George Clooney’s place… and NO, we didn’t see him or get an invite for an apperitivo (pre-dinner drink) on his balcony 🙁
The Bestie and I highly recommend the Greenway Walk. We recommend you have plenty of time, especially if you want to do the whole 10 kilometres! You’ll also need a water bottle and loads of memory space on your camera!
The Besties Do Italy series details how Seize The Day Project’s Lyndall and her long time best friend ventured to Italy to celebrate a significant birthday. What an adventure!
Read more posts in this fascinating series here:
Varenna – Your Ideal Base on Lake Como – The Delightful Villa Balbianello – Bellagio, the Pearl of the Lake – A memorable dinner on stunning Lake Como – A Day Trip to Switzerland on the Bernina Express
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