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Along the Via Spluga to Lake Como

From the Swiss Alps to the heart of the Italian Lakes
 
Follow the Via Spluga, an ancient and modern-day trading route, from Switzerland into Italy. You walk self-guided through the mountains, past lakes, while your luggage is transported from one hotel to the next, finishing in style by the shores of Lake Como.
Along the Via Spluga to Lake Como . 7 nights
Along the Via Spluga to Lake Como . 7 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A walking holiday along the Via Spluga

The sapphire waters and sylvan shores of wish-bone-shaped Lake Como have sparked many a romantic reverie, ever since the time of Pliny during the Roman Empire. They have lured numerous famous visitors over the centuries – from Queen Victoria to modern-day Hollywood stars – and inspired countless works of art – including the verses of Wordsworth and Longfellow, and the operas of Verdi, Rossini and Bellini – and remain as intoxicating a target now as ever before.
But don’t simply make a beeline for the lake: instead, embark on an adventure by following the historic Via Spluga from the Swiss Alps and over the Splügen Pass, and into Italy. Still a trading route to this day, the Via Spluga has formed the main link between Graubünden, Switzerland’s largest canton, and the Italian town of Chiavenna for up to 2,000 years, enabling the transfer of people, goods and ideas from places as far afield as Munich and Milan, and linking the two mighty valleys of the Rhine and the Po.
This ancient mule-track is not only awash with natural beauty, traversing spectacular gorges and passing bijou lakes, but is also packed with historical interest, and we include vouchers for entry to many places en route, such as Bottonera Mill in Chiavenna, and the Via Spluga Museum in the small town of Campodolcino, all of which provides a wonderful build-up to a memorable final two days by the shores of Lake Como itself.
 
Gallery
 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.

    In the mountains, temperatures will be lower than those on the shores of Lake Como shown above. The best time for flowers is June.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 5 7 11 15 19 23 26 25 22 16 10 6
    mm 72 71 98 124 158 135 108 137 122 135 120 63
  • Arrival in Splügen
    Night 1: at Hotel Bodenhaus (the first of two nights here).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of walking.
  • Circular walk from Splügen: 13km, 5hrs; ascent/descent 840m
    Make the most of your time in these beautiful surroundings by following our much-praised walking circuit across the flanks of the Rhäzünscher Alps. The path soon enters a valley which you follow to the high plateau and a string of bijou lakes at Suretta, above the treeline, and surrounded by an imposing cirque of mountains. Enjoy the peace and quiet tranquillity and admire the peaks of the Seehorn and Suretthorn reflected in the tranquil waters of the lakes. You descend to the Franzisch Grind vviewpouint before entering deep forests to return to the village via Fugschtwald.
    Circular walk from Splügen: 13km
    Lake at Suretta
  • Splügen to Isola: 17.5km, 6.5hrs; ascent 730m/descent 930m
    Today’s walk is an undoubted highlight: you veer south along a quieter and even more dramatic valley to follow an ancient cobbled trail via a sublime pass, over the border into Italy. Stop for some timely refreshment in one of Montespluga’s two restaurants before skirting the crystal-clear waters of its eponymous lake and passing through the breathtaking Cardinello Gorge. You finish with a descent into Isola, where you stay at the Locanda del Cardinello.
    Splügen to Isola: 17.5km
    Glorious views on the route from Splügen to Isola
  • Isola to Chiavenna: 19.5km, 6.5hrs; ascent 240m/descent 1330m
    This is a lengthy valley walk, but one that brings a sense of satisfaction as you reach the end of the Via Spluga. In Campodolcino you can visit the museum devoted to this historic trading route, the people who traversed it, and the villagers who lived in the settlements along it. You then descend steadily, following the River Liro as it flows south towards the delightful town of Chiavenna and the Hotel San Lorenzo, where you spend two nights. (For a shorter day, you can catch the bus to Campodolcino and start from there.)
    Isola to Chiavenna: 19.5km
    Valley walk from Isola to Chiavenna
  • Circular walk from Chiavenna: 11.5km, 4.5hrs; ascent/descent 640m
    After two epic mountain walks, today comes as a welcome change of pace. Take time to explore delightful Chiavenna before walking to the split-level Acquafraggia waterfalls, from where you return via the Palazzo Vertemate Franchi, a splendid 16th-century stately home with beautiful rose gardens which is worth a visit.
    Circular walk from Chiavenna: 11.5km
  • Chiavenna to Lenno, via boat on Lake Como: 10km, 3.5hrs; ascent/descent 325m
    The day starts with a transfer to the northern edge of Lake Como, where you board a boat (included) for the journey along its celebrated waters to Lenno, midway down the western shore. We recommend alighting at Villa Carlotta to follow the delightful 'Greenway' walking trail that meanders close to the lake and into the foothills. Whether you arrive in Lenno on foot or by boat, your destination is the elegant San Giorgio Hotel.
    Chiavenna to Lenno, via boat on Lake Como: 10km
    Villa Carlotta, Lenno
  • Explore Lenno & surrounding area
    You might like simply to potter around the nearby villages, but there are further walking options if you prefer. Come evening, choose an atmospheric lakeshore restaurant for dinner – an ideal way to reflect upon your journey from Swiss Alpine splendour to magical Lake Como.

    Linear walk from Bellano to Varenna: 7.5km, 3hrs; ascent/descent 400m
    Using the boat services across the lake (pay locally), this walk offers the opportunity to explore the beautiful lakeside villages of Bellano and Varenna on the opposite side of the lake and to explore the Orrido Gorge at Bellano. Strolling along the balcony path between the two villages affords spectacular panoramas of Lake Como and the surrounding area.

    Linear walk to Villa Carlotta, return by boat: 10km, 3.5hrs; ascent/descent 325m
    Alternatively, if you haven’t visited it already, you could head along a delightful walking trail to Villa Carlotta, an imposing 17th-century mansion. Linger among its enchanting gardens and much-admired art collection before taking a boat back to Lenno (pay locally).

    A stroll around Bellagio
    A third option is to take a boat (pay locally) for the short hop across to Bellagio and use our notes to guide you round this lovely town – known as the ‘Pearl of Lake Como’.
    Bellagio
    Linear walk from Bellano to Varenna: 7.5km
    Linear walk to Villa Carlotta, return by boat: 10km
 

Accommodation

We have chosen accommodation on or close to the Via Spluga, followed by a very special hotel right on the shores of Lake Como.
 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter.
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  • 7 nights: 30 June - 23 October 2019

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    30 June - 31 August £1120 £295
    1 - 14 September £1070 £295
    15 September - 16 October £1030 £295
    3rd & 4th person discount -£75
    Single traveller supplement £75

    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    San Giorgio Hotel
    Lake view: 30 Jun - 23 Oct 2019 £13

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    San Giorgio Hotel (B&B) Double room Single room
    30 Jun - 15 Sep 2019 £92 £142
    16 Sep - 23 Oct 2019 £83 £143
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Zürich (return from Milan or Bergamo)

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend Zürich or Milan Malpensa. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Aberdeen - Zurich (via Frankfurt) Lufthansa 
    Aberdeen - Zurich (via Paris) Air France 
    Return route Airline
    Milan Malpensa - Aberdeen (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Zurich Swiss 
    Return route Airline
    Milan Malpensa - Birmingham Flybe 
    Milan Malpensa - Birmingham (via Zurich) Swiss 
    Outward route Airline
    Bournemouth - Geneva easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Geneva easyJet 
    Bristol - Zurich (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Return route Airline
    Milan Bergamo - Bristol Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Geneva easyJet 
    Edinburgh - Zurich Swiss 
    Return route Airline
    Milan Bergamo - Edinburgh Ryanair 
    Milan Malpensa - Edinburgh easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Glasgow - Geneva easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Leeds Bradford - Zurich (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Return route Airline
    Milan Malpensa - Leeds Bradford (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Liverpool - Geneva easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    London City - Geneva British Airways,  Swiss 
    London City - Zurich British Airways,  Swiss 
    Return route Airline
    Milan Linate - London City Alitalia 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Geneva British Airways,  easyJet,  Swiss 
    Gatwick - Zurich easyJet,  Swiss 
    Return route Airline
    Milan Linate - Gatwick easyJet 
    Milan Malpensa - Gatwick easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Geneva British Airways,  Swiss 
    Heathrow - Zurich British Airways,  Swiss 
    Return route Airline
    Milan Linate - Heathrow Alitalia,  British Airways 
    Milan Malpensa - Heathrow British Airways 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Geneva easyJet 
    Luton - Zurich easyJet,  Vueling 
    Return route Airline
    Milan Malpensa - Luton easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Geneva easyJet 
    Manchester - Zurich Swiss 
    Manchester - Zurich (via Frankfurt) Lufthansa 
    Manchester - Zurich (via Munich) Lufthansa 
    Return route Airline
    Milan Bergamo - Manchester Ryanair 
    Milan Malpensa - Manchester easyJet,  Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Geneva easyJet 
    Newcastle - Zurich (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Newcastle - Zurich (via Paris CDG) Air France 
    Return route Airline
    Milan Malpensa - Newcastle (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Norwich - Zurich (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend Zürich or Milan Malpensa. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time stated in the connecting travel section, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you. We charge £30 per person for our flight booking service (£50 for India and Nepal). Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Connecting travel options - flying via Zürich

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Zürich airport to Thusis (2h50), taxi Thusis to hotel (0h30) £94 1600
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Chiasso (0h45), rail Chiasso to Zürich apt (3h45) £106 1600

    Connecting travel options - flying via Geneva

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Geneva airport to Thusis (5h), taxi Thusis to hotel (0h30) £160 1230
    Homeward route Prices per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    Geneva not recommended for homeward travel

    Connecting travel options - flying via Milan Malpensa

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    Milan Malpensa not recommended for outward travel
    Homeward route Prices per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    direct taxi hotel to Milan Malpensa airport (1h15) £86 flexible
    taxi hotel to Como S Giovanni (0h45), rail Como S Giovanni to Milan P. Garibaldi (1h05) £50 1200

    Connecting travel options - flying via Milan Linate

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    Milan Linate not recommended for outward travel
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    direct taxi hotel to Milan Linate (1h30) £86 flexible
    taxi hotel to Como s Giovanni (oh45), rail Como S Giovanni to Milan P Garibaldi (1h05) £50 1200

    Connecting travel options - flying via Bergamo

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    Bergamo not recommended for outward travel
    Homeward route Prices per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Como S Giovanni (0h45), rail Como S Giovanni to Bergamo station (1h45) £55 1400
    direct taxi hotel to Bergamo airport (1h45) £115 flexible
What is included
  • 7 nights
  • 3 dinners
    3 picnics
    7 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • transfer & boat on Day 5
 
Reviews

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We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

 

FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help. You might also find our General FAQs section helpful.
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from hotel to hotel, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. If/when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation, meaning that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.

    For more detailed information, see our walking holidays in Europe page.
  • We can book a wide range of airlines and routes from the UK. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. For Europe and Morocco, there’s a £30 booking fee per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). For India and Nepal, the booking fee is £50 per person. More information on flights >
  • Absolutely! We are experts in tailored rail travel. Making use of sleeper trains or stopovers in cities along the route, we can get you from London to virtually anywhere in mainland Europe. We can even make arrangements to Mallorca, Sicily and Norway with a combination of ferries and rail. Please contact Abi to discuss your plans.
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to buy our policy (if you live outside Europe you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK and EU residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to Italy, but not a visa (if you are travelling after 31 October 2019, see the Brexit question below for more information). If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found through the following NHS link: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advice/ You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). UK citizens should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) by applying at a Post Office or at www.ehic.org.uk. The EHIC allows reciprocal health care but should not be seen as a substitute for travel insurance. EHICs may cease to be valid in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
  • The principal official language is Italian, though some regions have a second official language, such as South Tyrol, where German is widely spoken. The currency is the Euro. Italian time is GMT/UTC + 1. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on BST + 1.
  • Even in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it’s been confirmed that flights will continue as normal and that you won’t need a visa to go on holiday (the limit on stays is 90 days). What you will need if there’s no deal is a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your arrival (extra months added because you renewed your passport early do not count) and adequate travel insurance to cover you for accidents and illness in case reciprocal health deals are suspended. If you are driving while on holiday, you will probably need an International Driving Permit (plus a Green Card if you are taking your own car to Europe). More information >
  • The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.
    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
Last fetch time is : 7/21/2019 4:04:26 AM