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Lake Como Accommodation recommendations please

volvo_fatboyvolvo_fatboy Posts: 69
edited July 2019 in Road general
Looking to spend a week around Lake Como in Summer of 2020 and starting to do my research...

Travelling from Essex to Bedoin to ride the Cingles du Mt Ventoux then drive on to Lake Como.

Obviously want to ride the Madonna del Ghisallo, Colma da Asso, with a diversion up the Muro Di Sormano, the Colma da Nesso etc.

Never been to the area before, so anyone with experience of this area, your recommendations will be much appreciated.

Looking for any accommodation options i.e. B&B or half-board or even campsites.

Thanks in advance


  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 16,747
    My wife and I took a train up to Lecco for a boat trip. That seems fairly ideal. Easy links (not so important if driving) and quiet so hopefully cheaper than the more well known places. Could be wrong though...
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • davep1davep1 Posts: 806
    I'm staying at Valbrona on Como for two nights in August this year, the Mrs picked the accomodation from Air BnB with no help from me. I then googled the location and it was about 10 km from Madonna del Ghisallo! :D Can't wait, have planned a route that will go up the side of the lake, then inland for the Madonna climb, and then on to Muro.

    Air BnB have been great for us, we have stayed in Krakow and Amsterdam in lovely little places recently, for about half the price of a cheap hotel. The Mrs bangs on about how she feels you are really staying in the place, not some faceless large brand hotel that could be in any city in the world. OK so you don't have flunkies carrying your bags and changing your sheets every two minutes, but you can come and go as you please, eat and drink when you want etc etc.

    There have been lots of threads on riding around the lakes on this site. It will be very busy in August (some Italians take the whole month off, it's a big thing for them) so you may have to ride early in the morning or evening, before dusk. The lakeside roads can be very busy and they are often narrow so congestion can make it a struggle.

    We drive to Abruzzo every summer, so on your drive back, if you skirt France you can avoid the tolls on their motorways, and the cheapest place for fuel is Luxembourg; there are about 3 service stations and they are all really busy! It is a few miles and maybe a couple of hours more, but we think it is worth it. I'd go over the Alps rather than take one of the tunnels; I think all the tunnels charge, and it isn't much fun driving in a slow moving queue for 35 minutes, whereas driving over the top is drop dead gorgeous. Passo San Gotthardo is a stunner, although I have yet to ride it. Was going to do it last year, booked the accomodation, and then crashed the bike two days before we left, broke my shoulder. :shock:
  • homers_doublehomers_double Posts: 6,930
    Anything large and on the lake front will be Grand Hotel "insert name of village here", mainly 5* and expensive. Go a few hundred yards inland and you'll get much cheaper and more homely accommodation.

    The only obvious camp sites I know of are around Dongo but there are loads signposted off the main roads, you can also hire boats etc around there.

    The main three villages in the center of the lake are Menaggio, Bellagio and Varenna. All are linked by their own triangle of ferries so access between them is easy, enjoyable and quite cheap.

    I would say 99% of people will suggest Bellagio as THE place to stay, only because it's sort of the jewel in the crown but it's a honeypot for tourists and can get quite busy. We do go over every now and again but mainly when someone comes with us who hasn't been before

    Como is the main city on the southern tip of the western leg, very busy but quite peaceful at times, there's also a large market there on a Saturday to mooch around.

    Don't be put off my people saying the lake roads are busy, yes some are but as you're riding along just dip off the main road which skirts the lake and follow the smaller roads through the villages.

    Dead busy... > ... =3&theater

    Have a look at this

    The SS340 is the main road along the western shore but if you look closely you'll see my ride dips off where possible, this avoids the tunnels and main flat out sections.

    The ride from Bellagio to Lecco is quite nice however to back to Bellagio you need to head north along the eastern shore to Varenna and catch the ferry across.This part does include a fast dual carriageway, bikes are legal on there but it is what it is. There is a path at the lake side but I avoid it as it can get full of sharp debris, thorns etc.

    I wouldn't bother riding north from Varenna, it's mainly dual carriageway and tunnels.

    Riding north from Menaggio is nice, can be busy but after a few miles there are no tunnels (all lake tunnels barr the odd one, have a lakeside path as this is the old road). Head up to Chiavenna for lunch

    Depending on where you stay, Lake Lugano is easily within reach. The climb back over which drops you in to Argegno is a good one, the descent is even better.

    In terms of any kit, sun cream and a rain jacket. You're on the cusp of the mountains so it can be very changeable even in the summer and when it rains it can set in for a week.

    Two water bottles, obviously and keep a look out for village squares as most have a water fountain which is safe to drink from.

    In my travels I've not come across many bike shops in the area, there is one on the way into Como but that's about it. Take spare tyres etc.

    If you want a coffee go to the bar, you'll pay 1/4 of what you do if someone comes to your table.

    Sorry for the long and dwindling post but if you need anything else fire away.
    Advocate of disc brakes.
  • homers_doublehomers_double Posts: 6,930

    Regarding the Varenna- Menaggio loop, ie the northern leg of the lake it seems quite easy to navigate around the lake side and jiggle around the dual carriage way at the top without running into much traffic.

    I'll be logging a route for this shortly as we're going over in a few weeks, if you like I'll share the three planned routes here as I'm hoping we* will ride the lake in three legs over three days.

    *Riding with MrsHD so no huge rides however the full lake loop itself is doable in a day.
    Advocate of disc brakes.
  • That's excellent thanks guys!

    Thanks for the Strava rides, I've copied those down for future use!

    To Mr HD, please do share your proposed routes...all ideas welcome.

    Once again thanks for your help.
  • homers_doublehomers_double Posts: 6,930
    No problem, I did start plotting one yesterday but strava failed on the save.

    The only leg which needs real thought is the Northern leg to avoid the tunnels, on the others you can just follow the road. I'll record my rides anyway when I'm there in a few weeks and stick them on here so you can see where we went.

    Bear in mind though that all of mine will start in Menaggio as that's where our house is.
    Advocate of disc brakes.
  • homers_doublehomers_double Posts: 6,930
    To Mr HD, please do share your proposed routes...all ideas welcome.

    Leg #1, Menaggio to Bellagio.

    Leg #2, Bellagio to Varenna.

    Leg #3, Varenna to Menaggio.

    All went according to plan, I've done the full lake in a day but it's hard work in the heat of summer and my wife is a cycling novice so wouldn't be able to complete it.

    Our plan was to split it into three legs and use the regular ferry at the centre of the lake to link the three together.

    A couple of tips from this weekend, definitely make sure you have a flashing rear light for the tunnels. Two bottles is a must and if you see a tap at the side of the road refill even if you think you don't need to as they can be quite far apart and in the heat your water will get very warm.
    Advocate of disc brakes.
  • Thanks very much Homers Double! Looks like you had a fantastic trip with great weather!

    46.5 degrees! ouch! Stunning rides, looking forward to getting out there!

    Great tips too, already learned those from cycling around Bourg d'Oisans (Alp d'Huez, Galibier etc!) but certainly helpful to others.

    Thanks again
  • homers_doublehomers_double Posts: 6,930
    No problem, to be fair to my comments above I'd only previously ridden the Varenna - Colico side once, its not as bad as I made it out to be and MrsHD enjoyed it as it was flat :)
    Advocate of disc brakes.
  • Ok fairplay...I do like a challenge of the mountains...looking to ride the Ghisallo & Muro di Sormano too.

    If you ever consider Alp d'huez/ Le Bourg d'Oisans and surrounding area give me a shout, plenty of knowledge of that area.
  • homers_doublehomers_double Posts: 6,930
    Ghisallo is pretty easy really, Sormano is further along the way and I turned back at the Museum so didn't make it to the steep section. To be honest I can find steep bits around here so would rather take in some decent views over killing myself for the glory or it.

    Read differently, I'm a bit chunky and don't like big hills :lol:
    Advocate of disc brakes.
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