At first glance, one might think there is little in the line of walking to be done around Italy’s northern lakes except for the occasional shoreline promenade. Nothing could be further from the truth. The best news is that there really is something for everyone, from short, pleasant walks suitable for any level of fitness, through to some serious mountain hikes and even mountaineering options.
One of the popular walks (which can be quite steep in parts) is the walk up to the chapel of San Martino behind Cadenabbia/Griante, the views are spectacular. In addition, here are some other walks / hikes that provide excellent views:
Monte di Tremezzo is a bit of a challenge but with excellent views. Be prepared for an all day walk/hike and a traverse through a tunnel right through the cliff up to the domed summit. The descent is easier as there is an old military road from the summit down to the slopes of Argegno. You can then take the cable car from these slopes near Argegno down to the lakeside if you wish.
From Varenna, there is a well signposted walk that leads up to a ruined medieval castle perched right above the settlement. From there you can walk through woods and an olive grove, to the shortest river in Italy, Fiumelatte, which rushes from a cave a couple of hundred feet above the village of the same name and only runs from March to October.
Although much of the cycling lakeside is comparatively easy on the legs, as soon as you move inland you can be confronted by considerable climbs. There are several trails for mountain-biking around Lake Como taking you through some spectacular scenery, through the mountains as well as along the lakeside.
Please note: biking on the main roads around Lake Como can be dangerous as there are many tunnels and some sections of road are very narrow. If you must cycle on these roads then please ensure that you are wearing the appropriate clothing and safety gear.
For the sports enthusiasts there are many things to do; walking or hiking and of course a multitude of watersports to choose from with many schools towards the northern part of the lake where you can book lessons for sailing, windsurfing, diving etc.