Lake Como, or Lago Di Como as its known in the area, is one of the most beautiful, romantic places you could ever visit. Nestled in the mountains of northern Italy, close to the Swiss border, Lake Como is known for its laidback lifestyle, incredible food and wine, and of course, George Clooney sightings. We visited Lake Como as the first stop on our honeymoon and it was absolute perfection. We awoke with a captivating view of Lake Como, indulged in cappuccino’s to awaken from us from our jet lag, and began strolling around one of the most beautiful places in the world, hand in hand. You might be thinking that Lake Como is not affordable for the everyday traveler, but let us shed some light on how you can enjoy the splendors of Como while still saving.
How to Get There
If you’re coming from far away, the easiest way to get to Como is to fly into one of Milan’s airports – Linate or Malpense. From there, rent a car (we used Europcar), and drive the hour to Como.
If you would prefer to travel by train, hop on the Cisalpino train from Milan for a quick 33-minute train up to Como.
Our Fiat Mini – perfect for the windy roads of Como.
Where to Stay
Lake Como is littered with spots that cater to Europe’s glitterati. If you have the budget, the top hotel to stay at is the famed Villa D’Este, a staple in the 1,000 places to see before you die. If you don’t have the budget for this hotel, try visiting their illustrious gardens. Who knows, you might be able to spot George sipping on a cappuccino!
Another great hotel is the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, one of the oldest hotels in all of Lake Como. It’s centrally located in Tremezzo and has an incredible pool that overlooks the lake.
The view from our Bella Como rental
If you’d like a more authentic locals point of view, we highly recommend using Bella Como, the leading boutique holiday villa and apartment rental company. We rented an amazing flat that had a kitchen, washer/dryer, and view of the lake. This was MUCH cheaper than staying at a hotel.
Ristorante Bilacus in Serbelloni – An amazing family run restaurant with a delectable choice of pastas and delicious fresh meats. If you’re in the mood for fish, try the swordfish with tomato, olives, capers, oregano, and a white wine sauce.
Sant Anna 1907 in Como – When the food arrives, you’ll be captivated by the presentation. But the only thing better is the taste! Dine in this relaxing, airy restaurant and you won’t be disappointed.
Where to Adventure
Paragliding – I strapped myself to Fabio (seriously, that was his name) and jumping off one of the many mountains in Como. A MUST do! The views are absolutely spectacular.
The Lido, Bellagio – Plunge into the fresh waters of Lake Como and rent a power boat and skis (or wakeboard). We used Wakeboard Lake Como.
Where to tour
Villa Carlotta – built in the 17th century and boasts an elaborate and beautiful Italian garden. The villa is now a museum, and visitors can tour both that and the gardens themselves.
Take a cooking class atIl Caminetto in Varenna. Mama Mia was this food amazing! We cooked mushroom risotto from scratch, drank delicious local wine, and talked with our new friends. So basically, we turned Italian real quick. It’s an amazing class. You will want to dedicate a few hours to this. The Italian way is to enjoy food, which also means enjoying a lot of conversation and a great deal of wine. Time to mangia!
Rent a boat: Rent a boat and take in the splendors of the lake!
Villa Balbianella: outside Lenno, is one of Lake Como’s most romantic. The movie “A Month by the Lake,” starring Vanessa Redgrave was filmed here and you can wander the gorgeous gardens. 9 minutes in car from Mezzegra.
Visit Bellagio town: Grab some gelato and roam the streets of this beautiful town. Then, find yourself a bench and take in the splendors of Italy.
Where to drink
Cantina Follie: Drink in a view of the lake and some delicious Italian wines at this beautiful wine bar. We recommend trying … every single wine. And after you’re done, check out their wine caves!
Lido Di Bellagio – Grab some beach chairs and take in the music and lively crowd at Lido Di Bellagio, a beautiful beach club. It has cabanas and beach chairs for a great day party. You can even stay into the night to experience authentic Italian nightlife.