As you probably know from all the brochures, postcards, promotional videos and websites about Lake Como, and the Golden Triangle in particular, Varenna is a pretty village of colourful houses and restaurants at the waters’ edge. At times, Varenna can be quite busy due to its location, ferry and train access, and most visitors to the region have included a visit in their travel plans. Not far away, Bellano is another delightful, though less well-known, village in the central eastern region of Lake Como. Bellano sits on a headland with pleasant beaches, a marina, and a lido with a lovely pool. If you feel like a day out and the opportunity to discover Lake Como gems beyond the most well-known towns and villages, a walk from Varenna to Bellano could be just the thing for you.
The walk from Varenna to Bellano takes around one and a half hours and once in Bellano you will discover that it has a range of attractive cafes and restaurants, as well as shops to interest most visitors. If you hiked from Varenna to Bellano during the morning, treated yourself to a fabulous lunch and then took a ferry to Bellagio or Menaggio in the afternoon, that would be a hugely rewarding day out. A little bit of everything; exercise, fresh air, (usually) sunshine, beautiful scenery, good food, maybe a bit of shopping, a lovely boat ride, etc.
To get started, once in Varenna,turn right at the ferry terminal and take the walkway known as “Lover’s Lane”. From there, just follow the ancient path called ‘Viandante’ until you reach Bellano. The historic centre of Bellano is the piazza where you can visit the church of Saints Nazzaro and Celso and see the 15th century frescos. The church of St. Marta with its wooden sculptures is also on the piazza. A pathway from the piazza leads to the Orrido gorge which has been formed by the River Pioverna. If you would like to visit Bellano but don’t fancy the walk, you can always take the boat.
By the way, Bellano is also an excellent starting point to visit quaint and interesting villages and towns around the lake. From the boat terminal you can catch a passenger ferry or a speed boat to many of the attractive places of interest on the lake. If you are travelling by road from Bellano there is an access point to the motorway ‘Superstrada’ leading south, making day trips southwards easy (Lecco has a ring road). In addition, from Varenna there are excellent ferry connections to Bellagio and Menaggio/Cadenabbia. Enjoy your voyage of discovery!