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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, including the Via Spluga Museum in the small town of Campodolcino and Palazzo Vertemate Franchi which can be visited on our walk from Chiavenna, all of which provides a wonderful build-up to a memorable final two days by the shores of Lake Como itself.
 

New itinerary coming soon

We are currently unable to take new bookings for this holiday while we make some changes. Please contact us if you'd like to register your interest.
 
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 viewpoint before entering deep forests to return to the village via Fugschtwald.You can also shorten the route by 4km at the end by taking a bus (pay locally).
    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.Those with no head for heights can skip the gorge and take a bus from Montespluga (pay locally).
    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 Conradi, 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, calling en route at the Palazzo Vertemate Franchi, a splendid 16th-century stately home with beautiful rose gardens.
    Circular walk from Chiavenna: 11.5km
    Traditional villages
  • 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: 6km, 2hrs
    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’. While in Bellagio, we highly recommend a visit to nearby Villa Melzi, whose magnificent gardens are not to be missed.
    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.
What is included
  • 7 nights
  • 3 dinners
    3 picnics
    7 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • GPS navigation
  • transfer & boat on day 5
 
Reviews

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

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.
  • If your holiday plans go awry because of Coronavirus, rest assured that we’ll do right by you. Since the start of the pandemic, our flexible booking policy and prompt issuing of refunds to customers who prefer not to defer their holiday have earned us high praise in the national press.
  • We sincerely hope that your holiday experience will be as enjoyable as it would have been before the pandemic – walking holidays are ideal in these times of social distancing, and we’re not operating holidays if the key highlights can no longer be delivered – but, naturally, there will be some changes to ensure your and other people’s safety, not least taking tests before and after your holiday for many destinations.
    Your holiday experience: what to expect >
    Safety measures being taken by hoteliers & others >
    Entry requirements for non-UK destinations & for re-entering the UK >
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from A to B, 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.
  • Yes, prior to going on holiday you will be able to download GPX tracks so that you can follow your route on your smartphone or dedicated GPS device if you wish. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you use them – our detailed, step-by-step route notes remain the principal means of guiding you from A to B – but we provide them as a secondary means of navigation for additional reassurance when walking.
  • We can book a wide range of routes from the UK with a variety of airlines (but not, currently, with Ryanair). 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. The fee for this service is £35 per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). 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 and Lizzie to discuss your plans.
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted to 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.

    More information about the booking process >
    Information about accommodation, general practicalities and more >
    Booking conditions >
  • 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 take out our recommended travel insurance policy (if you live outside the UK you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies – including falling ill with Covid-19 while on holiday – and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.

    We'll ask you for the details of your policy (insurer, policy number and medical emergency phone number) so that we can help out if the worst happens while you are on holiday. It's up to you, though, to check that your policy covers the activities you'll be doing on holiday and that it is adequate for your own individual needs; we don't check alternative policies.
  • 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 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 for UK citizens can be found through the Travel Health Pro website. You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). You should also apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) if your EHIC has expired (if you have a still-valid EHIC, you can use this until it expires).
  • 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.
  • For information on the practicalities of travel now that the UK is no longer part of the European Union, visit www.gov.uk/visit-eu-switzerland-norway-iceland-liechtenstein.

    At Inntravel we work in close partnership with our hoteliers, taxi drivers and other local suppliers to provide our self-guided holidays directly to you. We are entirely confident that you will continue to receive the usual warm welcome from them, regardless of what is happening in the European political sphere.
  • The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) 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.
  • You are the best judge of your child’s/children’s capabilities. We are happy to take bookings for families of older children/teenagers if they walk regularly, love the outdoors and are comfortable with the distances and ascent/descent involved. Please note that the bedrooms at most of the accommodation we use will normally only sleep a maximum of 3 people, and sometimes only 2.
Last fetch time is : 12/1/2021 4:28:21 PM