Happy Friday everyone!
Hope you all have a fun weekend planned ahead and maybe a bit of holiday planning? If you’re stuck for ideas, you should definitely consider Lake Como! I’ve already gone on about how much I loved Bellagio but there is so much more to Lake Como. With numerous villages and small hamlets dotted along the lake, you’re spoilt for choice in terms of what to do.
I was in Lake Como for a weekend – in hindsight, I wish I had stayed longer as I felt relaxed and rejuvenated here, away from the big smoke that is London! But having said that, a weekend is completely doable.
Transport around the lake is made easy by ferry. If you’re staying in one of the more popular towns like Bellagio, they are also more frequent so this is something you should factor in when deciding on where to stay. Another advantage of staying in the ‘middle lake’ region is that you can buy a middle lake day ferry pass (€15) that basically lets you go to most of the major towns and villas which, as you might’ve guessed, are in the middle lake region! This is a lot cheaper than if you were travelling via ferry from, for example, Como town all the way up the lake.
What to see
1) Varenna is a beautiful village on the eastern shore of the lake and a must-see. It is also a great alternative to Bellagio as a place to base yourself, in fact probably a bit more authentic than Bellagio. While you’re here, visit the two main villas in the area, Villa Monastero and Villa Cipressi. There is also a direct train from Milan that stops in Varenna. 2) Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo (ticket €10) is a stunning villa with beautiful botanical gardens. You’ll need a couple of hours to explore the gardens and, unlike some other places in Como, the villa itself is actually open to the public. While you’re in Tremezzo, pop in to the luxurious Grand Hotel Tremezzo for a drink or a bite to eat! 3) Villa Balbienello is a cinematic vision. If I had to choose one place, this villa would have to be my favourite. If you’re a James Bond fan, you’ll recognise that this was used as one of the locations in Casino Royale. No surprise, it is beautiful!
Situated on a peninsula, the views from here are unique. The grounds are also lovely but I would highly recommend taking the guided tour that includes visiting the interiors (ticket €20) as well. You will learn about the last resident and owner of the villa, Guido Monzino, who was, among other things, an art collector and explorer, who filled the villa with exquisite artwork and mementos from his travelling adventures across the world.
Reaching the villa can be a bit tricky if you have mobility issues as it is accessed by a 1km uphill path. There is however the option to take a taxi boat from Lenno so you’ll avoid the relatively steep climb.Believe it or not but we saw all of these sights in one day so it’s totally doable but I’d recommend splitting it over a couple of days so you can see everything at a leisurely pace. I wish I had time to visit Menaggio, another town on the lake, but if you’re limited on time, stick to the above and you won’t regret it!
Have you been to Lake Como? What was your favourite thing about it?