A beautiful excursion in Varese area, the hike to Monte Poncione offers the best landscape in the region, a 360° view on blue lakes with snow-capped or green mountains on the background. It’s an easy walk, but if you like you can also continue hiking till Monte Minisfreddo and Monte San Bernardo for a full-day trip.
How to get there
From Milan, you can take “Autostrada dei Laghi” direction Varese, then exit at “Gazzada”; continuing to the right, you take “Tangenziale di Varese”, so you avoid to cross the city center (remind you have to pay the toll). You continue towards Luino / Ponte Tresa, you enter Valganna, just after Ganna you turn right towards “Alpe Tedesco”. The road goes on for about 5 km, then you finally reach the start of your trip: it is easy because here you will have the sign of “Cuasso al Monte” on the right side of the road, while on the left you have a small parking where you can leave the car.
Here starts your walk. You start going up on the right, following the red-and-white signals of the path “3V Poncione di Ganna – Induno Olona“, and you enjoy the wood till you reach a bench with a memorial stone, where you can choose between a steep walk and an easier one. If you prefer the first, shorter, you just climb up on the right of the bench, otherwise you go on straight, and after about 500 mt. you will turn right, according to the red-white signals. I have chosen the easier one! 🙂
In the last part of the path you will find some rocky steps, but at the end of the walk (consider about half an hour) you will be rewarded by a wonderful show: the big Cross of Monte Poncione and the breath-taking view! You will also find a “Wind Rose” to help you orientating yourself on the landscape. Thanks to the wise E. I also discovered the funny app Peaklens.com that identifies for you the peaks!!!
You can see almost all the beautiful lakes and mountains in the area, just turning around (that’s why for me it’s like a balcony floating on the lakes!). On the left you can see a small side of lake Maggiore, from far away, then you have the green lakes of Ganna and Ghirla. You sit on a bench and you can enjoy Valceresio with Lake Ceresio just in front of you, and Varese lake on the right side. Then, the background with the mountains: Monte “Campo dei Fiori”, Monte Martica, Monte Minisfreddo, Monte Orsa, Monte San Giorgio. Far away, the beautiful white frame with Monte Generoso, Monte Rosa, the Lepontine Alps and the Rhaetian Alps.
Do you understand why Monte Poncione is my favourite excursion in Varese area? 🙂 (read also about the Sacro Monte path here).
I had fun with friends sunbathing here, but if you started in the morning and want to discover more you can proceed to the peaks of Monte Minisfreddo and Monte San Bernardo. You just have to descend from the summit of Monte Poncione, then continue on the ridge, and after a few crags you arrive at Monte Minisfreddo (1042 m.). Following the red-white signs of path “3V Poncione di Ganna – Induno Olona” you finally reach the summit of Monte San Bernardo (1020 m.), offering a beautiful view on Valceresio.
Here you can find the detailed maps.
If you stopped at Monte Poncione, you can also relax with a food stop at “Trattoria dell’Alpe” in Cuasso, just a little further your parking, leaving it on the left behind you.
Here you can find good home cooking with the traditional dishes of the area like cold cuts and cheese, risotto with porcini mushrooms, wild boar and polenta.
Did you ever go to Monte Poncione? Which is your best excursion in Varese area?