Out of the five lakes, which compose the Italian Lakes region, Lago di Como is without a doubt the most popular. Shaped like an inverted Y, surrounded by mountains and dotted with charming resort villages, Lake Como is the most picturesque travel destination for travellers of any type and especially for lovers.
We stayed in Cernobbio, which sits right smack in front of the large town square and right on the water’s edge making you in the middle of the action. And there is plenty of action with nightly summer festivals and fates. There are lots of nice restaurants and also a lido. http://www.lidodicernobbio.com/v1/
Beautifully located in the square are two boutique hotels, the interior are a little old fashioned (think Faulty Towers) and the rooms are quaint but the location is perfect and the views are stunning:
Hotel Regina Olga – offers beautiful grounds with a private swimming pool. Prices range from Euro 150 upwards
Hotel Miralago – a small boutique property on the waters edge. Room prices start from Euro 150 plus
The most prestigious villa/hotel is without a doubt Villa d'Este, which has been transformed into the Grand Hotel Villa d'Este one of the most luxurious hotels on the lake and located on the waters edge of Cernobbio. Prices range from Euro 1000 to Euro 3000
Traveling around Lake Como is pretty easy by ferry. There are slow boats, fast boats and private boats – we ended up doing all three. For 20 euros the ferry will take you to the following towns of Varenna, Bellagio, Tremezzo, Lenno, Menaggio and Cadenabbia. We ended up taking the slow ferry from Cernobbio to Bellagio which took 2 hours and the fast ferry back which took one hour.
Check the public transport timetable http://www.navigazionelaghi.it
When staying on the lake you must rent your own speedboat and venture out for the day. Take everything at your own pace in order to really enjoy the beauty of Lake Como and all its hidden gems. The lake’s waters edge are dotted with countless restaurants, all serving classic Italian fare – moor your boat, and wait for the staff to ferry you onto shore. A lot of these restaurants also offer water sports too. We stopped for lunch at a great restaurant between Cernobbio and Bellagio called Hotel Albergo Aroura, the food was great, the view was simply stunning and the watersports were awesome.
If you want to take a break from the lake and enjoy Como from above then you should take the funicular to the top of the hills. My husband hiked up to the top of one of the hills, which has a tall tower at the peak. It took him and his friends 3 hours, but they enjoyed a splendid, chilled lunch at one of the cafes at the top, took some breathtaking pics of the view and then got the funicular back down. It’s a medium to high intensity hike but is well posted and the views at the top are well worth any discomfort.
Hiking Trails - https://www.mountainwalking.org
Bellagio is the most popular town on the lake and is bustling. With many shops and restaurants, its beautiful but very busy with tourists coming and going on ferries and private boats. Walk up the long straight flight of steps called Salita Serbelloni that starts behind the harbor and goes straight up the hill. All along the narrow street are small cafes, shops, and colorful houses, each one of them with their own unique story. To really enjoy the town I would recommend a walking tour in order to discover the little-known vantage points and sights that many visitors miss. It’s a 3-hour tour, were you visit a sleepy fishing harbor with rare Larian gondola boats bobbing on the water, a park, and a botanical garden. Then, finish up with a gourmet lunch at a Michelin-listed local restaurant. Another guided tour, with limited daily ticket sales is the beautifully maintained gardens of Villa Serbelloni which occupy a large area above the town and contain a myriad of highlights including plants, statues, small caves and water features.
A few must visit spots in Lake Como are:
Villa Balbianello - Visit the immaculate gardens and this dramatic villa on Lenno.
Villa Carlotta -This is the most visited villa in Lake Como for good reason! Get lost in the extensive and elaborate gardens, explore the museum and grab a bite to eat.
Como Cathedral - Explore Como’s famous church with its impressive facade and ancient history.
Villa Oleandra - Look out for George Clooney’s house – enough incentive!
For the adventurers and thrill seekers, try the following activities:
Paragliding – View Lake Como, from another perspective – the sky. Gera Lario is the perfect place to start this unforgettable experience. It takes about 50 minutes from Cernobbio to the village. A shuttle will take you up to Montemezzo where you can enjoy the breathtaking view before taking a flight that lasts 15-20 minutes and during which you get a chance to drive the parachute!
Jungle Park - The jungle rider park is the perfect family fun activity with 7 paths created depending on people’s ages. From 1-meter high platforms for children and higher platforms for adults that can reach 15 meters of height, Jungle rider park offers other attractions such as Soft Air for fight lovers, archery, canoeing for water and other adventures.
Mountain Bike Tours – There are many biking tours around lake Como, contact
firstname.lastname@example.org - a great way to explore the beauty and charm of this place
Nearest Airport is Milan which is a 30 minutes car drive to Cernobbio.
Lake Como is one of those special places that a single visit does not do justice. As many families have done for generations, Lake Como can be an annual summer holiday and each time it can be as varied as the previous one. This was my first visit to this magical place, I fell in love with it and I will certainly be going back many more times again.
Here’s a little teaser…