Lake Como. The dreamiest place you ever did see. For a lake, it is pretty darn huge and pretty damn picturesque. No wonder George Clooney seems to like it so much. With its lakeside riviera vibes, there are plenty of gorgeous spots dotted around the lake to visit. If you have less than 24 hours like I did though, there are two destinations on the lake that you really cannot miss. Bellagio and Varenna are widely popular with tourists and for obvious reasons and so, a combination of perfect views, tasty food and traditional Italian buildings make for a perfect day trip.
So as I previously stated in my previous post on my trip to Milan, our last full day consisted of a trip via train to Lake Como. I could not recommend the lake more for anyone wanting to venture out of the city for a day. The trip to get there itself could not be easier either. We left from Milano Centrale direct to Varenna-Esino-Perledo station and with only an hour journey, you are there in practically no time. The return ticket was around €14 too, which meant a cheap trip too. Once we got to Varenna, we headed straight to the ferry port and onto the passenger ferry to Bellagio. With again, a very cheap €10 return. I would definitely say that heading straight to Bellagio first before exploring Varenna would be wise as we arrived there at around 11am whilst the port was fairly quiet. Whereas, on our return back to Varenna at around 2ish, the port was packed full of tourists awaiting the ferry for Bellagio. The ferry ride itself was about 15-20 minutes long, well it felt that quick anyway since there is plenty of gorgeous views to see and capture on route.
First stop: Bellagio
I had heard a lot of good things about Bellagio and after spending many years holidaying with family around the lakeside towns of Lake Garda, I had a lot of high expectations. At first glance, as you near the town on the ferry, it strikes you that it’s picturesque waterfront is seriously postcard material. Although, in terms of tourist spots, it’s waterfront is really all you have to work with. It’s perfect for a coffee here, a spot of lunch there and then an ice cream further upon the long stretch of waterfront. With all of the restaurants having ridiculously good food of course, we found that we were really quite happy just settling in a restaurant for a couple of hours. I mean I had wine, risotto and a perfect view in front of me. I was more than happy staying out for a while.
If you do fancy venturing further into the town and it’s variety of trinket shops and small boutiques, then expect a lot of steps. The rest of the town is very uphill. However, it is totally worth the small hike to get some better views and find some little hidden treasures. We stumbled across a gorgeous public garden on a hill and got some equally gorgeous photos. Then we stumbled upon a magnificent church to have a look around. It all really took me back to my holidays as a child around Lake Garda where we spent days walking around just seeing what we happened to come across. All in all, Bellagio was a beautiful as it’s reputation and although absolutely packed with tourists, it was still easy to find a peaceful little spot somewhere amongst the town.
Next stop: Varenna
Now as much as people rave about Bellagio, I must say that Varenna was my favourite destination of the day. It was far more quaint and the views were arguably better. The weather also picked up once we got back off the ferry from what was originally a warm but overcast day, to a sunny one. Varenna has a beautiful walkway around a small cliff face above the lake (which is not as scary or dangerous as it sounds) that provides a lovely stroll.
As you walk around it, you come across a small cove with two small but bustling restaurants and a shallow waterfront. We ended up finding a bench here and sitting in the sun for about an hour just people watching. It was here where you can really appreciate the stunning views of Lake Como. As ahead of us in the distance was a glimpse of the Swiss Alps littered with snow, something which you did not get in Bellagio. So although Varenna was small, it was far more picturesque. With its small climb back to the train station even providing gorgeous views of houses dotted all amongst the hills above.
Overall, Lake Como was another dream place to visit ticked off the list and provided more opportunities for some serious indulgence in carbs. Is there anything better that that?
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