Lake of Lugano by bike

Lake of Lugano - hard route

Hard road route



Hard road route

Ride distance: 85 km
​Elevation gain: 1400 m

The Lake Como area is always associated with the Italian part of Switzerland, especially the city of Lugano and its own famous lake, Lake Lugano. The culture and scenery of our neighbor to the west is very similar, although divided by a historical border. In the past, this border between Italy and Switzerland was crossed by Italian smugglers, as illegal sales were their only option for survival. Today these smuggling stories remain a part of the past, but the roads and towns have remained the same. 


Lake of Lugano - hard route: Val d'Intelvi


There are two routes to Lake Lugano: Our Medium ride is the shorter 60 kilometer and 950 vertical meters route, while this Hard ride is longer at 85 kilometers and 1,400 vertical meters. Both offer you a ferry ride to the west side of Lake Como and its picturesque villas, then a beautiful gradual climb through an alpine valley, Val d'Intelvi, past churches perched on hillsides and small villages with quaint cafès, you can almost hear the cowbells high in the hills. When we finally cross the border into Switzerland, it's a dramatic descent to Lake Lugano where you'll notice a distinct difference from Lake Como. Which lake do you prefer? We know ours!


Lake of Lugano - hard route: Lake Lugano


The longer route loops around the far side of Lake Lugano and through its namesake town, while the shorter route heads straight to the north end of the lake. From there it's a quick return back to Italy and the descent to Lake Como where we'll catch the Cadenabbia ferry to Bellagio.


This ride is perfect for: Road cyclists with high level of fitness who would like to try a long gradual Italian climb, extra endurance miles of flat to rolling terrain, plus a sense of adventure going to Switzerland. Due to the border crossing and network of alpine roads, a guide is recommended.

Note: A ferry is required both ways for this ride so allow for extra time and money for the crossings.


Lake of Lugano - hard route: Immagine 1
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