The lake is in every way possible pure joy, but especially in the southern part. The northern part of Lake Como is more wild
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Lake Como in 20 seconds
Lake Como is surrounded by an idyllic landscape, featuring cliffs and mountains all the way around (pretty much), not to mention the impressive Alps in the background.
The clear water of the lake is naturally a delight for water lovers, both those who wish to swim and bathe, but just as much for those who enjoy speed, whether that be in a speedboat or on waterskis.
Lake Como is located in Lombardy
Holiday at Lake Como
The lake is in every way possible pure joy, but especially in the southern part. The northern part of Lake Como is more wild, and the population is quite small.
This means that you will find more folk further south, around the towns of Como, Bellagio and Lecco which are the most famous.
Como is admittedly a large industrial city, but it does not feel at all like that once you enjoy a stroll by the shoreline near the lake that extends around the city.
The Basilica of Sant’Abbondio leads you back to life at Lake Como, before the tourists began visiting en masse.
Bellagio is situated close to Como, but despite the small distance, it can easily require an hours drive through the winding and twisting mountain roads. Bellagio is for the rich people and their lifestyles, which can be felt on the town’s almost clinical cleanliness, and of course in the many stores where the large brands dominate the shop windows.
Beautiful and warm town, right where the lake splits.
Lecco is a beautiful and comfortable town, albeit less famous than Como and Bellagio. Among the many attractions you will find the Basilica Romana Prepositurale, and not least of all the gorgeous view created by nature, that you can enjoy up at Monte Barro.
Lake Como is a fantastic area!
Varenna is a very small town by Lago di Como, the eastern leg of the lake, almost exactly across from “the leg”, where you find Bellagio. The town lies 23 minutes driving distance north of Lecco.
It just takes a single hour to drive up here from the airport in Bergamo, and it is pretty straight forward, both in regards to driving through Bergamo, or choosing the route that goes around. From Linate airport in Milano you will equally find the journey to require an hour of driving, while getting to Varenna from Malpensa will require one and a half hours.
This is a real holiday. And the sun is already peeking through your windows in the early morning hours, so you do not need an alarm clock to wake up. The sun also warms Lake Como from this early on in the day.
This is what it feels like being on holiday at Varenna.
You will be quick to get up in order to close the curtains or pull the blinds down, but you will experience Lake Como for all its glory at this hour in particular, which makes it difficult to close the blinds. On the contrary. This is a holiday. You can sleep when you get old.
Each day offers countless possibilities for experiences. You can be your own judge whether today should entail gorgeous villas, botanical gardens, museums, small pathways, trips on boats, or perhaps Castello Vezio that you simply must experience.
And as you can read from the list, there are plenty of options for multiple days, many days. Preferably a week or two in order to see it all, while at the same time having enough freedom to relax and enjoy the lovely sun and the warm water in the lake.
The villas, not least of all Lago di Como, are among the largest attractions in the area around Varenna, but we do not necessarily need to stop with that.
The spring near Fiumelatte is among the shortest in Italy, measuring just around 250 meters. The spring is also quite frothy, with a milky white color, hence the name.
One at Piazza San Giorgio in Varenna, you will head south, up the hill at Via Roma where you continue to the left on the road which leads you to the Fiumelatte.
The river should be experienced between March and October.
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From Bellano and Varenna we will head on to the other side of Lake Como, actually right across the other side of the lake.
We are visiting Menaggio, which lies north of the “western leg” of the lake. Here you will reach Bergamo in 1 hour and 45 minutes, and if your destination is Bellagio, you can use the ferry crossing there and towards Griante. The ferry ride takes roughly 45 minutes.
If you are driving by car and headed for Menaggio, the journey ahead is roughly 80 kilometers long with the destination being Como. Of this route the last 30 kilometers will take the longest time, but on the other hand, it is also the most beautiful part of the road from Milano.
If you are going by train from Milano Centrale, you should board the train destined for Sondrio, and exit the train at Colico where you will continue on by bus. Depending on the route you choose, transport via bus can take up to one hour.
The town center is of old origins, and among the prettiest in all of Lake Como. Menaggio was a fortified town in the middle ages.
The historic center is a pleasure to experience, and the atmosphere is lovely and relaxing. It is possible to still bear witness to the medieval aspects, due to the cobbled streets that calmly climb up the small hills with the charming houses.
The promenade, beach and hotels feature more modern impressions. The largest attraction in town is the church Parrocchiale di Santo Stefano, built in a Roman style.
The town is labeled Bandiera Arancioni, which is an honorable title for those comunes that are strong, and show strength in terms of tourism.
They have written the following on their website:
“This town is located in a naturalistic context of beauty, characterized by the presence of an excellent path and bicycle system.”
This peculiarity is effectively promoted by an excellent tourist information service thanks to its role provided by both the dedicated office and the website, which is clear and full of information.
Feel the pulse of the small town up close at Piazza Garibaldi, where you can grab your cappuccino and enjoy life to its fullest.
Going to Cernobbio from Menaggio, we stay on this side of Lake Como for now, just a short 10 minutes drive north of Como.
Cernobbio is a small and careful town, which lies in between Monte Bisbino and the blue water at Lake Como. The area is known for the beautiful landscapes, which for centuries have been an inspiration for many artists.
There is a certain prestige about Cernobbio, and as written has been a famous destination for many famous people. The hotels of the town have received travelers from around the world for hundreds of years.
The town is also known for the many famous and beautiful villas, where the most famous of them all is Villa d’Este. The villa was built near the end of the 16th century, by a prominent cardinal from Como. Since then it has at one point been owned by King George IV of England. The villa has served as a luxury hotel since 1873, where the historic facets and many artworks have been kept.
Villa Bernasconi, which was recently restored and renovated, serves as a museum these days. The villa itself tells its story, showing you the history as you walk through the villa, letting you in on the stories of the families who have lived here since 1906 when it was built.
Villa Erba is another lavish villa. Today it serves as a conference center.
One of the most beautiful villages in Italy
The town is without a doubt one of the most fascinating villages near Lake Como. It is rich with history, art and culture, and if that was not all, it also lets you enjoy the most beautiful panoramic vistas on this central part of the lake.
Here you will be enchanted by the fertile gardens and beautiful mansions from the 18th century. The stunning view and fresh smell of the Mediterranean Ocean hangs in the air and follows you around everywhere. The lemon trees, olive trees and the grape vines all grow here on the many terraces.
Many people from the upper classes of European society came here in the 18th century, which led to the spread of many parks and villas in the town and surrounding area.
The villa was actually built in the 17th century, and was erected in a baroque style, which was the fashion at that period in time. Through the many hundreds of years since, there have been many different owners, and over the years the villa has been enriched with several masterworks of art.
The accompanying garden is large and covers 8 hectares. Here it is possible to see the various different styles that the many owners each have had a hand in implementing.
Tremezzo is one of the most beautiful villages in all of Italy. Something that you will discover for yourself once you visit, which you can do all year round.
Find peace and quiet in one of the smallest villages at Lake Como
From here you will be awarded with a fantastic panoramic view out across Lake Como, allowing you to take the most wonderful photographs.
As is often the case with the many small villages close to the shoreline, you will find that it is an absolute pleasure strolling around town, feeling like you have jumped a few hundred years back in time. Here you can experience the houses made of stone, and stores only selling the most necessary items for daily life. And of course there are a lot of stairs to climb.
Nesso is a charming little village, amplified by the surrounding nature and rich history. As you walk along the typical rows of houses, you will reach the church San Pietro e Paolo. It was consecrated back in 1095, by Pope Urbano II, but what you see today is in a typical baroque style from the 16th century. Inside it has been decorated with several frescoes and paintings.
After a short walk you will reach Piazza Castello, which is the central part of the town, and from where you will be able to hear a waterfall. The sound of trickling water comes from the famous Nesso Canyon, also known as Orrido di Nesso, and which is one of the most beautiful natural wonders near Lake Como.
From Ponte della Civera it is possible to enjoy the fantastic view out over the waterfall, and you can reach Ponte delle Civera from Piazza Castello. Here you will be afforded a strong and memorable view of the waterfall. And it is hard to imagine more joy in life, than when bathing and swimming in this paradise.
It took almost 400 years to build the Cattedrale di Como, which was begun in 1396 and whose facade is exceptionally executed in the late Gothic style of northern Italy. The church is dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta. Note the beautiful facade which was built between 1455 and 1486. It is probably not necessary to write this, but the church is located in Piazza Duomo.
The church is an excellent example of the Romanesque style in Como. The structure and forms of the church were begun by Pope Urban II in 1095. The church can be found at Via Regina Teodolinda 35.
Furthermore, it is a pleasure and recommendation to see the Chiesa di Sant’Agostino and the Basilica di San Fedele.
There are many parks and villas scattered along Lake Como, and of course you can see some of them in Como itself, where some villas are nicer and bigger than the others.
Villa Olmo is probably the largest and most famous villa in town. The villa is an example of neoclassical architecture and is now home to several exhibitions. Admission is free.
Villa Rotonda is also worth a look. The villa was built between 1790 and 1793. The villa is called La Rotondo because it has a round central part on the facade facing the lake. And just for your extra information, Napoleon visited the villa in 1797