The Monte Colombina hike has to have one of the best views in the Lake Iseo area. The view you get of the surrounding mountains and Lake Iseo far out in the distance is absolutely magical.
Hiking Monte Colombina is a proper leg burner. It’s worth all of the pain that you’ll be feeling the next day though! The trail will take you past Italian farmhouses, through beautiful forests, and end up at the top of the mountain from where you can see the beautiful Lake Iseo and the Bergamo Alps.
It’s a completely different perspective seeing Lake Iseo and the mountains from a bit further out. Especially compared to when we hiked the Corna Trentapassi hike (which we can also highly recommend)!
In this post, we’ll share everything you need to know about the hike. We include what to bring, how to get there, and a trail map. Let’s dive in!
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Everything you need to know for the Monte Colombina hike
This hike is easy and hard at the same time and that’s exactly what we like about it. The Monte Colombina hike is what we consider a short and sweet hike. Especially if you start from the starting point we recommend in this post.
The trail itself is very easy to follow and well-marked. You’ll also be able to see the peak of Monte Colombina from the beginning of the trail, so you’ll always know where you’re going. To make sure you don’t get lost you can follow the Monte Colombina trail map here.
From the beginning to the end of the trail you’re up in the beautiful mountains away from everyone (except for the other people on the hike obviously). The hike itself actually starts at a little cafe/restaurant. You can sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee to boost your energy levels before summiting the mountain. Nothing screams Italy like a little espresso (or cafe latte) before a hike!
At the top, you’ll find a cross (like you do on most hikes here in Italy) along with some (Nepalese-looking) prayer flags a little further past the cross. You’ll end up at 1458 m above sea level which is the peak of Monte Colombina. It’s one of the best views in the area and it’s a hike that we absolutely loved.
The nature here is incredible. The amount of mountain peaks and animals you’ll see is so much fun. The fact you can see Lake Iseo in the distance makes this area absolutely incredible!
Before we dive too deep into this post, one thing we do want to share is that there were some forest fires in the Bergamo area when we did this hike. So even though our pictures aren’t as clear because of it we hope you can still get an idea of how good the views can be. Not saying the view wasn’t amazing still but it was a little challenging to capture. Hopefully, it will be a bit clearer when you go and hike Monte Colombina.
Besides the not-so-clear sky, our experience hiking in Italy has been absolutely magical. From hiking Corna Trentapassi nearby to Cascate Del Serio, all of the hikes in this area are amazing and a lot less visited than the famous Dolomites. Monte Colombina was one of many hikes that made us realize how beautiful this part of Italy is and how incredible the hiking is in the Bergamasque Alps!
Practical information about the Monte Colombina hike
Distance: 5.1 km return / 3.16 miles return
Elevation: Roughly 411 m / 1348 ft. elevation gain
Type: In and Out trail
Length: 2.5-3.5 hours total (with a break at the top of Monte Colombina)
Difficulty: Moderate-hard (the last section is a little steep)
Here’s a picture of the beginning of the Monte Colombina hike:
Starting the hike at the Agriturismo parking lot
You don’t want to make the same mistake we did and park down in Bossico (although you can if you want to). We didn’t exactly know how far up we could drive so to be safe we parked in Bossico. We had no idea there was a parking lot (and restaurant) at the beginning of the hike.
So instead of driving to the trailhead, we had an extra 1.5 km to the start and from there we could actually start hiking up Monte Colombina. So don’t do what we did and park right here where the Monte Colombina trailhead starts.
If you want to do it the Italian way, you can stop for a quick coffee at the restaurant before you make your way up the mountain. Just make sure you clarify what kind of coffee you want because if you don’t they will serve you an espresso. Italians love their espressos and they will assume that’s what you want if you don’t ask for anything else. Ask for a cappuccino or a cafe latte to be safe.
As soon as you leave the parking lot connected to the restaurant you’ll see the signs right away pointing toward Colombina. From the start of the trail, you’ll actually have a great view of the peak where you’ll be hiking to.
The first stretch of the hike up to Monte Colombina
As you leave the restaurant/parking lot you’ll find your way to the “red trail” where you’ll see signs towards Colombina. Most of the trails in this area will lead up in that direction. We decided to take the main trail which also looked like the most straightforward one.
The first stretch is relatively easy and warms you up for the last bit! During this first part, you’ll walk past a few Italian farmhouses where you’ll probably see a bunch of cows and maybe even some horses.
The scenery here is so beautiful so don’t forget to take some breaks to take it all in. Especially since Lake Iseo comes into view quite early into the hike. The view looking back at the lake and the mountains only gets better the further you get up.
Not long after you’ve started the trail, you will enter the forest which you’ll be walking in for a bit. We loved the fact that we were here during the fall season so we could see the many different colours on the trees!
There isn’t too much you need to worry about in terms of following the trail other than staying on the path. At the beginning section, you stay on the same trail until you come to a fork in the road!
Turn left at the fork in the road to continue to Colombina
If you look at the trail map for Monte Colombina you’ll see that at Forcellino di Bossico, the trail splits in two. Make sure to stay left or else you’ll end up going somewhere completely different! There will also be a sign next to the trail where the fork splits so you shouldn’t miss it.
Now it’s time to prepare for some elevation! This part is not as crazy as the last bit but you’ll definitely start to feel it here. Power through this section and the next thing you know Monte Colombina will come into view.
You’ll see one of those wooden frames where you can stand behind it and it looks like you’re in a picture. This one is really cool because it has Lake Iseo in the background and, on a clear day, we can just imagine how beautiful it looks (it was a very hazy day for us).
Take a picture with this wooden frame (if you want to) and then you only have one last stretch to the top of the mountain. This last section is the hardest part so take a break beforehand if you need it.
The final push to the top of Monte Colombina
Ahh, the most exciting part of the whole hike! The section where you take 10 steps and already need a break because the elevation is so much (slight exaggeration but you get the point). It is steep but if we can do it, so can you!
There are two things that make this last bit less challenging. One: You can see the peak and where you have to get to so you know it’s not that far away. And two: You also have the most incredible view every time you look back. It doesn’t hurt to stop for a bit to admire the view of Lake Iseo and the mountains around you. This is arguably one of the best views you can find in this part of Italy!
Step by step you’ll get closer to the cross which is where you’ll find the best viewpoint from the hike. If you do want to actually conquer the hike you’ll have to walk about 2-3 more minutes past the cross. You’ll continue until you see the “prayer flags” which is the actual summit of Monte Colombina at 1458 meters above sea level!
Take in the views from the top of Monte Colombina
Enjoy the view!! We sat down right next to the cross and enjoyed our lunch and a little snack. The panoramic view from up by the cross is absolutely insane. From here, you can see all of the mountains, cute little Italian mountain houses, and Lake Iseo.
Even though we didn’t have the clearest sky, the view was still so beautiful. You can see so far and it’s really peaceful being up there. One of the best parts about the hike is that it feels very local. You don’t feel like you’re on some touristy trail or anything. It really is Italy off the beaten path – literally and metaphorically.
Take some time to relax at the top and just enjoy the moment before you head down – you deserve it! Especially after all that incline and sweat it took to get to the top of Colombina. Take it all in until you’re ready to hike back down. You know there’s coffee waiting at the restaurant! 😉
Down from Monte Colombina we go
Since this is an in-and-out trail, you’ll make your way back down the same way you hiked up. You’ll be able to get down a lot faster than coming up, especially once you get onto the flatter sections.
There are also a few small little side trails so if you want to try something new or get lost a little bit you can always try and explore one of those. As long as you continue to go down in the right direction you should eventually end up near the starting point! 😉
At some point, everything will start to become familiar and you’ll see the car park and the restaurant. Who knows, maybe it’s time for another coffee? For us it sure was! They also have a toilet upstairs so if you need to use it, then this is a good place before heading back home.
What to bring on the Monte Colombina hike
One of the most important things to bring on the Monte Colombina hike is sunscreen and a big (reusable) bottle of water (we use LifeStraw bottles and love them). We hiked Colombina in early October and even then we could feel the heat. We can imagine that in July and August it gets absolutely roasting up at the top. So water is a must!
We also just throw everything imaginable that way we may need into our Osprey day hiking bags which are fantastic. We usually bring everything from a tripod to a power bank and all the food we may need for the day.
A nice thing about this hike is that it isn’t too long and there’s a restaurant and town next to the starting point. So if you don’t feel like packing too much food you can always grab something there before or after the hike.
Packing list for Monte Colombina:
- 💦 Water! We always fill up our LifeStraw bottles before hikes and even during them when we can. Make sure to fill it up beforehand. You can fill it up at the restaurant where the hike starts.
- 🧴 Sunscreen is highly recommended when hiking and especially in Italy. During the second half of the hike, you’ll be exposed to the sun the whole time. In the summer months, you’ll absolutely bake at the top on a sunny day.
- 🥾 Proper hiking shoes are recommended for not only this hike but for the majority of the hikes in the Bergamasque Alps!
- 🔋 A power bank is always nice to have on any hike you do! You don’t want a dead phone halfway through a hike or when you have to navigate back to your accommodation.
- 🥪 Bring some lunch for a nice picnic at the top of Monte Colombina. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy the view of Lake Iseo.
- 🏔️ If you have weak knees, you might want to bring hiking poles! The ascents and descents from the peak will be much easier with poles. Especially for how steep this hike gets near the top.
How to get from Bergamo to Bossico
Having a car to explore the Bergamasque Alps in this part of Italy is highly recommended. You are going to save a bunch of time by having a car and some of the hikes are actually quite hard to get to without one. Especially in lots of these more remote places where the hikes start.
Rent a car in Bergamo
Renting a car is by far the best option for this hike and also for many of the hikes in the Bergamasque Alps. Cars are fairly affordable to rent from the Bergamo Airport and being able to drive will save you lots of time in the Alps.
When looking for car rentals, we always use Discover Cars. This platform helps compare prices between the different car rental companies so it’s easy to find the best deal. We’ve used them many times and have never had issues (even when we’ve had to change or cancel our booking).
Before you hike Monte Colombina
Check the weather
No matter where you hike, you should always check the weather before you go. The Lake Iseo area is known for its amazing weather but as with any mountain, it can quickly change up if you’re unlucky.
Since you’re going to be hiking over 1000m up and onto an open mountain, it’s good to know what you’re getting yourself into. You can see the weather for Bossico here which is the town right below where the hike starts. This will give you an idea of what kind of clothes to pack and how to best prepare.
It’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. It really sucks being on a hike and where you get cold and wet from some unexpected storm that comes in!
Wear hiking shoes
Almost everywhere in northern Italy, you’re going to want proper hiking shoes. We wear them on all mountain hikes we do. It makes the hike so much more enjoyable to have the proper shoes.
Like most hikes we’ve done in Italy the trails are rocky, steep, and challenging so proper footwear makes the hikes a lot easier!
Best time to hike Monte Colombina
The fall is a stunning time to be in the Bergamasque Alps and all around Lake Iseo. And who doesn’t like hiking in the fall? We love it – especially when there are way fewer people out on the trails and you really feel like you have the trails to yourself.
If you’re planning to hike up during the summer it might be nice to get up bright and early and get up to the top before most people even start the hike. Then in the afternoon you can go down to either Bossico or all the way back down to Lake Iseo and enjoy some gelato!
You may also like…
- How to Hike the Breathtaking Corna Trentapassi Trail
- Hiking up Monte Blum to the Beautiful Capella Alpani Monte Blum
- Hiking to the Tallest Waterfall in Italy – Cascate Del Serio
Recap of the Monte Colombina hike overlooking Lake Iseo
That’s it for this hike up to the top of Monte Colombina. It’s definitely our second favourite view of Lake Iseo right behind Corna Trentapassi (which is another awesome hike). We really enjoyed this hike though and hope you have a nice clear day from the top of Colombina. That way you’ll get an amazing view of Iseo Lake!
If you’re in Bergamo or around Lake Iseo and want to go on a hike that’s challenging but doesn’t take the entire day, this one is perfect. You can easily do this hike first thing in the morning and still have the whole afternoon to explore down by the lake.
Enjoy one of our favourite hikes in Italy! If you have questions about it you can DM us on Instagram or leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you ASAP!
Enjoy the view and the hike, and make sure to enjoy all the coffee and gelato imaginable while you’re in Italy!