Cycling around Lake Como and Lake Lugano
The starting point for the itineraries that we recommend in this article, discovering Lugano and Como lakes, comes from the autumn season, since the colors and temperatures that characterize these places are ideal for an active holiday, and from the Press Tour that was organized by Parco San Marco Hotels & Beach Resort in collaboration with us.
From September 22nd to 25th, the Cycling by the Lakes tour was held, which was attended by a group of journalists who explored the hamlets of the Italian Lake District, the most popular attractions of the territory and the hidden gems that worth a visit.
Cycling is a growing trend in Lombardy, thanks to a very diverse territory where to ride a bike, which moreover boasts a unique cycling history in the world.
This report of the Press Tour wants to be an invitation to book a stay on the shores of Lake Lugano, to visit by bike all the most enchanting places in this Heaven’s Corner between Switzerland and Lombardy.
The Olive Path towards Gandria
The Sentiero dell’Olivo is a panoramic walk dotted with dozens of olive trees, following this path you can reach the hamlet of Gandria, a picturesque town where the facades of the houses are reflected by the lake; Gandria is located in Switzerland, just before the Italian border.
Here we are on the 46° parallel north and here there is most northern position in the world of olive cultivation.
The route includes a stop in Lugano and then, after crossing the lake, the itinerary continues through the soft climbs and bends of the Val di Mara.
The destination is the Grotto di Descanso, a typical grotto along the lake, surrounded by nature and reachable only on foot or by boat; the staff of Parco San Marco organizes the excursion by providing a rubber boat to arrive at the Grotto and admire the colors of the landscape, in this borderland where nature takes on unique nuances.
From here you can come back to the resort to conclude the first day of the tour, perhaps relaxing in the Spa and enjoying delicious dishes at La Masseria, one of the hotel’s restaurants.
Cycling around two lakes
If you are looking for an itinerary that is also suitable for families, we suggest the route that starts from Lake Lugano, crosses the old San Gottardo railway to Lago di Piano, which today is a nature reserve.
From Lake Como you can take a ferry to Cadenabbia for Bellagio, to better appreciate the Art Nouveau villas that dot the landscape; once in Bellagio, you can start to climb the Ghisallo, by road bike or ebike; in Ghisallo there is the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Ghisallo, protector of all the cyclists.
At the Ghisallo, right next to the Sanctuary, there is also the Cycling Museum, a must-see for any bike lover.
Experienced cyclists can try their hand at tackling the Wall of Sormano, which is the most difficult climb to face on a bike, because it is a 2.4 km stretch of asphalt with a 25% gradient and a height difference of almost 300 meters (from 831 meters to 1124).
The average gradient is 17% and is considered the hardest cycling path in the world, a short stretch that has witnessed highly skilled cyclists, even during races such as the Giro di Lombardia.
The next part of the route includes a visit to the Gardens of Villa Melzi, a magical place, in which every plant and every part of the park contributes to giving life to a suggestive scenario, framing the lake with splendid views that amaze those who visit the gardens.
At the end of the day, get on ferry to Cadenabbia to follow the route backwards and return to the hotel.
Visit to Villa Fogazzaro Roi
In Oria, a hamlet of Valsolda, stands Villa Fogazzaro Roi, the summer residence of the writer Antonio Fogazzaro, that was donated by his last owner and great-grandson of Fogazzaro, the marquis Roi, to FAI – Fondo Ambiente Italiano.
The guided tour, organized by Parco San Marco, allows you to enter the rooms of the author of the novel “Piccolo mondo antico” (The Little World of the Past), a novel set right in this Villa. It is also possible to visit the study and garden of the Villa, places rich in history like a treasure trove of stories.
This “place of the soul” (as Fogazzaro called it) is an invitation to make a travel experience that includes both bike paths and boat trips, as well as taking care of your well-being in a place where comfort and quietness are the essential ingredients; this is why the Parco San Marco Resort, with its “simply unique” philosophy, is ideal for a unique holiday in any season of the year.