Does the combination of high mountains, a beautiful large lake and Italian food sound like a great combination to you? If that’s the case, then Lake Como could be a great place to visit. I’ve recently spent three days at Lake Como and completely fallen in love with it. If you would like to visit it as well, check out my blog post for more info and some tips.
Three days at Lake Como
Como is a large lake located in the Lombardy region, at the very north of Italy, close to the Swiss border. It’s been a popular destination among the aristocrats and wealthy people since Roman time. That’s why it’s home to so many gorgeous villas with extensive gardens today. Because of its picturesque nature and beautiful colourful houses, it was often used as a filming location (the Star Wars are just among some movies filmed there).
*TIP: If you have only a day to visit the lake, you can do that on one of these day trips to Lake Como from Milan. Check out the link for more info!
How to get to Lake Como
The closest airport to Lake Como is in Milan, and it has many connections from all over Europe, but also the US and Canada daily. We flew to Milan from Amsterdam, and it took us around an hour and a half to get there. We then rented a car at the airport, and we needed another hour and a half to get to the central part of Lake Como where our B&B was.
*TIP: You don’t really need a car for visiting Lake Como. There is a train service connecting Milan with many villages at the lake. It’s easy then to commute between them on a ferry. It’s connecting many places on the lake, it’s cheap, and there are several departures throughout the day. There’s more info about them in a text below.
Where to stay at Lake Como
Some of the most popular places at the lake are Como, Bellagio, Varenna and Menaggio. It’s convenient to stay in any of them because they are well connected with ferries. So getting around is quite easy. However, they could also get a bit busy during the summer months, so if you prefer a more peaceful place, many small villages around the lake are equally pretty.
*TIP: During our three days at Lake Como we stayed at the village called Abbadia Lariana, located at the eastern shore of the lake. We stayed at B&B Le Colombine and loved it! It has that lovely Italian rustic feel, and its owner Cristina made a homemade breakfast for us each morning. It is a place I would definitely recommend to stay at Lake Como.
Day One at Lake Como
Exploring Abbadia Lariana
When we arrived to Lake Como, the weather wasn’t the best, so we decided to explore Abbadia Lariana first. There is a short walking path next to the lakeside. Even though it was cloudy, that grim atmosphere gave it a bit of a mystical appearance. We had lunch at a lovely local Baba du Lac restaurant where we enjoyed pasta, fish, tiramisu and other delicious Italian food.
Visiting Mandello del Lario
We wanted to explore the area a bit more in the afternoon, so we took a walk to the village next to ours, Mandello del Lario. There’s no walking path next to the lake connecting these two villages. So we had to climb a bit and follow the road going through the hills. It was definitely worth it because we were rewarded with some fantastic views on Lake Como.
Looking for the Lake Monster
That mystical feel with the clouds sitting low above the lake, made us wonder if there is a legend about some kind of lake monster living in it. So, I did a bit of research and have found that there were reports of a monster seen on the lake. The dinosaur-like looking beast was named Lariosauro. And it was reported to be seen since the 1950s. Sadly, we haven’t saw it during our time at Lake Como.
Day Two at Lake Como
Although the weather was still quite bad the next morning, our mood was definitely brightened after a delicious breakfast, our lovely host prepared for us. We didn’t allow the weather to discourage us, so we decided to visit a small fishermen village – Varenna. It’s located some twenty minutes by car from our B&B.
The road is following the shape of the lake, and it’s quite narrow, so we really had a feeling of being in the Italian countryside. There is a big parking garage conveniently located at the entrance to Varenna. After parking our car there we continued exploring the village on foot.
Varenna is a small picturesque village, filled with some beautiful colourful villas and cobbled narrow streets. We first went to Villa Monastero, located just a few steps from the entrance to the village. It has an amazing botanical garden, and although it was heavily raining, we decided to pay it a visit. Combination of typical Italian architecture, Mediterranean plants and beautiful nature of the lake, made that place looking like it’s out of this world.
It started to rain really bad while we were there, so we went to a cute little cafe in the main square called Bar 27m2. The number in its name stands for the size of that tiny place. After some nice hot chocolate and cappuccino, we were ready to continue wandering through this beautiful place.
Two old Medieval churches are located at its main square and are definitely worth visiting. Wall paintings in their interior are probably their most interesting feature. Interestingly enough, there is a wall painting of Saint Christopher, protector of travellers, in both of them. So we felt quite welcomed there.
Moto Guzzi Museum
Since the weather wasn’t on our side, we were looking for the indoors activities at Lake Como to do that day. And when we found out there is a Moto Guzzi Factory and a Museum located really close, we decided to visit it as well.
The museum is opened daily only from 3 to 4 PM. So, if you’d like to visit it, be sure to plan your visit around that time. They are exhibiting some of the most famous models of this Italian motorcycle producer. Entrance is free of charge, and there were guides there, who were giving more info and telling the story of Moto Guzzi in more details.
We decided to take it slow that day, so we bought dinner and went back home a bit earlier. And while enjoying in some nice cheese, olives and Italian wine, we were looking at the lake, hoping to catch a glimpse of Lariosauro passing by. Of course, only from the safety of our room.
Day Three at Lake Como
Finally, on a third day, we were woken up by some beautiful sun and bright skies. We decided to enjoy it thoroughly and spent a day on a ferry exploring some of the famous little towns at the Lake Como.
We drove to Varenna again, parked our car and took a ferry to a nearby Bellagio. Varenna looked even more pretty on a sunny day, and we were tempted to spend the whole day by just wandering around it. Here are just some of the photos of Varenna I took that morning.
*TIP: Ferries are the best way of getting around Lake Como. They are comfortable, you’ll have a lovely view of a lake from them, and they are quite cheap. They are also departing very often, so you won’t spend much time waiting for them. I would definitely advise you to get a daily pass and just hop on and off and explore the lake. You can get more info about the time table and ticket costs on their official website on a link here.
Bellagio is one of the most popular villages on the lake, and it’s called the Pearl of Como for a reason. Villas are just a bit prettier there, and it’s home to many restaurants and cosy cafes. We spent a few hours there, by strolling around, going on a tourist train ride and by just sipping a coffee and enjoying the beautiful lake view.
*TIP: There are sailing trips organised on the Lake Como, as well. So, if you would like to enjoy the lake in that way, take a look at the link here for more info.
Trip to Menaggio
After lunch, we took a ferry again and went to another side of the lake, to the village called Menaggio. Its promenade following the lakeshore is the most beautiful among all those places we’ve visited during our three days at Lake Como. Centre of the village is rather small, and it consists of a little square with many cafes and restaurants on it. We had a delicious gelato there and just strolled around it for a little while before we took a ferry and got back to Varenna later in the afternoon.
Spending the three days at Lake Como is just enough time to enjoy in this beautiful part of Italy. You’ll have enough time to explore all the picturesque small villages there, but also to enjoy in Italian cuisine. I hope that this guide is going to make your visit even more enjoyable.
Have you been to Lake Como? What was your favourite place there?
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