We went to Lake Como a month ago as a celebration of our 5 year anniversary and a year of being parents! We were lucky enough to be able to leave Leia with grandparents. We did a trip to Italy including Tuscany, Cinque Terre, Florence outlet malls and ending with Lake Como. Stay tuned for my posts on the other places, but I had to start out with my favorite- LAKE COMO- it is definitely underrated and gets overlooked due to the Amalfi coast, but in my opinion, Lake Como is a luxurious paradise and beats Amalfi (check out my post on Positano from a few years ago)!
We were lucky enough to stay at the Grand Hotel Serbelloni in Bellagio. It’s 5 star service is top notch with one of the best breakfast’s I’ve had. Other places we had looked at or that I would consider staying in the future are Grand Hotel Tremezzo in Tremezzo and Villa d’Este in Cernobbio. If you’re looking for a more accessible place to stay at, then I’d recommend staying in Como- it’s hustle and bustle is very lively and a great location as well. However, Bellagio did have the best views followed by Varenna in my opinion! Varenna is the only town with a train station along with Lecco. However, if you take a train to Varenna, be aware that the train station is isloated on it’s own and you’d need to carry your bags to walk 15 minutes into town. For Bellagio, we ended up taking a train from Florence to Milan and then Milan to Lecco and had our hotel hire a private transfer to the hotel in Bellagio for 90 euros. Alternatively, you can take the ferry to Bellagio, but our train got in so late that we didn’t have a ferry at night to take so be sure to plan ahead of time and check the time tables if you don’t want a private transfer.
1. Bellagio- the hilly steps are actually very fun to climb and venture out to see the town. It is located in the innermost Y of Lake Como so the views are unique. In Bellagio, you can visit the Serbelloni gardens (not in the hotel), but they only have a guided tour at certain times of the day and it can take up to hours so be sure to check if it is something you really want to do. Villa Melzi is also a great place to visit and see great architecture. Punta Spartivento is the furthest tip of Lake Como and is worth a walk. There is also a fishing market you can check out, but we skipped it! Bellagio is known for its silk so don’t forget to grab a silk scarf! Also, if you don’t stay at the Grand Hotel Serbollini, it is still worth a visit to check out and try it’s fabulous restaurant! Be sure to eat creamy risotto at Ristorante Bilacus and Antico Pozzo for some pizza! Another option to stay is Hotel Du Lac- they have a great rooftop view even to enjoy while eating!
2. Varenna– definitely the most prettiest of the towns. It is isolated on its’ own and has the prettiest colorful buildings. I could have spent an entire day walking around and taking pictures. This little town is absolutely gorgeous- it was fun to sit by the shoreline, eat and people watch. The buildings are different colors so great for bloggers. Don’t forget to stop by Hotel Olivedo for a fun yellow building in your picture!
3. Como- Como is a must. It’s fun to take the funicolare from Como to Brunate for amazing views (5.50 euros/per). You can see the Swiss Alps from up there! Leave enough time to walk to the scenic point and back. Como also has the best gelato- Gelataria Lariana right across from the ferry dock is delicious. Como is also a small city to it’s nice to see buildings and walk around quite a bit.
4. Lenno- There’s not much to do in Lenno itself, but this is a must because you have to go see Villa Balbianello (can walk there about 20 mins or take a ferry). The villa is gorgeous with amazing views and of course famous for filming in James Bond, Star Wars and Deepika and Ranveer’s wedding location!
5. Tremezzo- The only thing to do here is Villa Carlotta and to see Grand Hotel Tremezzo. Villa Carlotta is not a must be definitely fun to do if you have time!
6. Cernobbio- This is the ‘Beverly Hills’ of Como so definitely a great stop. Villa d’Este is a MUST. If you don’t stay here, then definitely go to Bar Canova there to catch some drinks and enjoy the villa. Super exclusive and celebrity sightings are possible! Harry’s Bar is famous and a great place to catch lunch as well. Villa Fontanelle is a little ways in but would be fun to visit- owned by Versace.
7. Nesso- We didn’t make it here, but I really wanted to. Ponte Roma bridge apparently has amazing views. Trattoria del Porto and Tre Rose are restaurants with great views Ive read that were on my list!
8. Mennagio- We also didn’t make it here, but it’s a fun place to go to some lakeside promenade restaurants to enjoy the view and relax. Piazza Garibaldi is a square with a church etc for sightseeing. Villa Vigoni is another garden and villa that has great views.
Getting around Lake Como is simple once you figure it out, but it takes time to figure out the ferry schedule. I highly recommend taking the fast ferry to save time, but also taking the slow ferries to enjoy the experience. The timetable is posted well in advance, but can be a bit difficult to read. Prices vary based on what location you’re going to. They check tickets as you are boarding, so be sure to keep them out! Hiring a private driver is also an option or taking a taxi from place to place if the ferry schedule doesn’t work. All in all- Lake Como and the towns around it are amazing and fun to explore- I’d recommend 2-3 full days depending on what you want to do!