Ride distance: 60 km
Elevation gain: 900 m
A ferry ride from the Bellagio waterfront to the picturesque village of Varenna on the east side of the lake begins this 60 kilometer ride with 900 vertical meters of climbing. A little north of Varenna we'll turn inland for a gradual 5 kilometer climb out of the Lake Como basin then drop into the Valsassina, the valley nestled between Lake Como's Grigne mountains and the pre-Alps to the northeast. This valley is green for a reason, it's the home to many farms and shops that produce some of the finest products in Italy. Our friends at Carozzi Formaggi make some of the best cheese in the world. Hungry? Let's stop for lunch and fill our jersey pockets with our favorites to take home.
As you are winding along the quiet bike path that runs through the valley, look up and you'll see craggy peaks dotted with snow fields and huge mountains dissected with local ski lifts. Unknowingly you're gradually increasing your elevation to the high passo above the town of Lecco and the most spectacular descent to the lake. Steep granite cliffs and perhaps some paragliders greet you on the way down to Lecco, where you can stop at a cafè before finishing the ride back to Bellagio. Bellissimo!
This ride is perfect for: Everyone! Longer than the Onno-Ghisallo route, the terrain is still easy to navigate for both road cyclists and those on e-bikes. The Valsassina's dramatic valley and proximity to the Grigne mountains are a wonderful experience for visitors to Italy.
Note: At least one ferry is required for this ride so allow for extra time and money for the crossings.