7 beautiful treks near Milan

Who I am
Aina Prat Blasi

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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We want to talk about the luck we "Milanese" have? I have realized this quite recently, but it is never too late! We just need to leave the city of a few tens of kilometers to find ourselves completely immersed in nature, ready to explore mountains, hills and lakes that offer wonderful views and paths. As with many other things, I had been planning for years to go trekking in Lombardy and the closure of the regions due to Covid-19 has only given me the "the". Studying a little and getting advice from friends I marked myself several paths (all classic itineraries around Lake Como / Lecco) and I went to try them. As you will see .. they are more beautiful than the other !! If you are not fit, fear not, there are paths for everyone, from the undemanding ones to the very demanding ones. Compared to the distance from Milan, except Alpe Giumello which takes 1h40 ', the others are all about 1h from the city, so really close!

7 super-scenic treks near Milan

1. Alpe Giumello

Let's start with the simplest of all, which is also one of the most scenic, the Alpe Giumello path. The latter is located at the base of Monte Croce di Muggiò (1800 mt) and the circuit is a ring that allows you to see all 4 sides of the mountain (as well as the climb to the cross of course). The starting point of the path is the parking lot of the locality which is called Alpe Giumello (here you will find the exact position), where you can see several refuges and the base of the ski lift. To reach it from Milan it will take about 1h40 ', with the last 45' of hairpin bends on a road that is not exactly wide. The Alpe Giumello path is wonderful because it starts from a long way up (1531 meters) so you will have to walk very little and with little effort to get a crazy view that sweeps from Monte Rosa to Lake Lugano, Bellagio and Switzerland. If you go up to the cross of Monte di Muggiò the difference in height is 300 meters, little stuff, but it's really worth it! My advice is to follow the path anti-clockwise (from the parking lot, go to the right, then go up the mountain, and go down towards the Alpe di Giumello village). If you do not go up, however, you should go left: you will see a flat dirt road that can also be covered with a stroller / pram. Alpe Giumello is truly for everyone !! Alpe Giumello is a famous take-off place for hang gliding and paragliding enthusiasts (the classic landing takes place in the Taceno meadows) and you will see quite a few of them circling in the air. 

Where to eat at Alpe Giumello

Vittoria hut: a beautiful hut with a large panoramic terrace that opens onto the valley and Lake Como. Classic mountain cuisine. 

2. Plans of Resinelli (Grigna)

The first love is never forgotten !! The Piani dei Resinelli was my first trek near Milan several years ago and I have been back several times because I find it a magnificent place. The Piani dei Resinelli are located immediately above Lecco, under the Grigne massif, which can be reached with paths of varying difficulty. Also in this case the view of Lake Lecco and the mountains is truly amazing !! To choose which path to take I recommend you visit the Piani dei Resinelli site because it is very detailed, it describes all the itineraries (all well marked). I followed the Resinelli-Le Foppe itinerary (signs N.9) to reach the Rosalba Refuge (1730 m) and it's really nice !! It is a path of medium intensity (which starts from here), it is quite long (it will take you more or less 3 hours to climb and the same amount to descend) with a difference in height of about 530 meters. There is also another more difficult path that always arrives at the Rosalba Refuge which is called path of the Direttissima (watch out for the signs!). If you are more experienced climbers you can consider reaching the summit of the Southern Grigna and the Brioschi Refuge (2184 m), but in this case you have to start from Pasturo. To reach the Brioschi Refuge there are several itineraries and you can find them here. 

Where to eat Piani dei Resinelli

Rosalba Refuge: this refuge will be your just reward after 3 hours of climbing. The refuge is located right on the ridge of the Grigna and offers spectacular views of the lake and the mountains. In addition to this .. you also eat like a god !! Book if you don't want to do photonic queues. 

3. Path of the Wayfarer

Il Path of the Wayfarer it is a hiking trail on Lake Lecco that takes up a series of tracks that connected, already in Roman times, the towns on the eastern shore of the lake from Lecco to Colico. The current route goes from Abbadia Lariana (starts at the church of San Martino) up to the sanctuary of the Madonna di Val Pozzo in Piantedo. It is about 45 Km long and it is usually divided into 4 stages (Abbadia-Lierna, Lierna-Varenna, Varenna-Dervio, Dervio-Piantedo). I traveled the 2nd leg, that from Lierna to Varenna, considered by many to be the most panoramic. Find all the detailed info in the article "Varenna, Lierna and the Path of the Wayfarer". 

4. Monte San Primo

The climb to Monte San Primo is one of the most classic treks near Milan, and is very famous and much loved by Lecco and Milanese. With its 1685 meters, Monte San Primo is the highest mountain in the Larian Triangle and offers a panorama that has no equal: the gaze sweeps 360 degrees on the 2 branches of Lake Como / Lecco up to most of the Alps. There are so many paths to go up / down; I went up and started from the Martina Refuge car park. From here the path is very well signposted and in about 1 hour and a half you will be on the summit. The climb has a nice slope (it is 700 meters in altitude, it breaks your legs and your breath) so it is not suitable if you are not at least a little trained. Fortunately, it is quite short and, once you get up, you can relax by having a picnic and enjoying the crazy view. To go down there are several paths but I do not recommend you to go down the same path as the climb! NB There is no source along the route so it is essential to bring water from home. 

5. The path of Expressions

If you are looking for a simple but close, particular and panoramic trek, I recommend the Path of Expressionsin Val d’Intelvi. Opened in 2014, this path was born thanks to a project that brought together forests, art and tourism, with local artists who created many sculptures along the way using trunks and bark. The path starts from fraction of Posa, on the western shore of Lake Como, about 1 hour and a half from Milan. Once the car is parked, proceed on foot towards theAlpe Nava (about 20 min), the real starting point of the Path of Expressions. The path is easy and for everyone, the difference in height is 370 meters and it takes about 3 hours to complete the ring. After less than 1h from the beginning of the path you will find the beautiful Alpe Comana Refuge, which is the only refuge along the way. Continuing further you arrive at the lookout on Lake Como and go along it until you reach Crocetta. From here you finally take the road to return to Posa. 

6. Corni di Canzo

Another very famous trek near Milan is the one that leads to Corni di Canzo. The paths that arrive at the base of the 3 Horns start from several points and are of different difficulties. I followed the path N.5 which starts from Sources of Gajum in Canzo and arrives at SEV refuge in Pianezzo (1225m); just before the Fonti you will find several parking lots. The N.5 is a simple path that develops mainly in the woods, so it is in the shade and perfect for summer, even when the temperatures are hot. The difference in height is 750 meters and it takes about 2h30 'to go up (and 2h to go down). The more experienced and trained can also climb from the Direttissima (path N.1). Once you arrive at the Refuge you will have a splendid view of Lake Como on one side and the Resegone massif on the other and, if you want to continue, you can reach the Central Horns (1366 m) ed western (1372 m). This climb, however, is recommended and reserved only for expert hikers (there is a fairly steep rock face and equipped walls). Along the way there are at least 2 sources of water, the First Alpe (managed by Legambiente, where there is a large picnic area with bbq and grills available to all) and the Terz'Alpe Refuge.

7. Monte Barro e Pian Sciresa

The last trek near Milan that I propose is that on Monte Barro and Pian Sciresa  that I did by participating in an activity that integrates trekking with mindfulness / breathing techniques organized by my friend Sbilvi (Silvia Valsecchi). The incredible thing about this walk is that it starts practically from the center of Lecco !! From the station, cross the center, then the Ponte Vecchio and then go up to Pian Sciresa starting from this staircase in Malgrate. This plateau is located on the eastern side of Monte Barro and offers sweeping views over the city of Lecco and the homonymous branch of the lake. Once we arrived in Pian Sciresa, Silvia taught us different breathing techniques, thanks to which we truly find harmony between mind and body. It was something I had never done and I really liked it !! If you are interested in giving this added value to the walk you can contact Silvia through her FB page. 

Walking a few more minutes, from Pian Sciresa you then reach one panoramic terrace (which is located immediately behind the Baita Pian Sciresa) from which you can enjoy a magnificent view of the lake. From there you then descend again to Malgrate from this path. This trek is very easy and is suitable for everyone; the initial staircase is a bit tiring but very feasible. 

Where to eat in Lecco (Pescarenico)

After this path I recommend you to go to the small fishing village of Pescarenico (from Malgrate it's a 30 'walk) to have lunch in one of these 2 restaurants:

  • From Ceko the Fisherman: a fish market with a kitchen where you can eat very well in a simple and familiar environment. 
  • Soqquadro: very nice tapas bar on the main square of Pescarenico. They also make pizza and it deserves it!
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