The Italian Lakes have always been a bucket list destination for us and when an unlucky flight cancellation scuppered our dreams last year (easyJet- I will never forgive you), we knew we had to make it happen for 2017.
When I think of Lake Como, I think of idyllic Italian charm, romantic Alpine scenery and sipping on an Aperol Spritz with George Clooney.
Here is my itinerary from my recent visit to Lake Como, Italy.
Following an early start in London, we touched down in Milan Malpensa and made our way through the terminal to collect our rental car. Lake Como is approximately a one hour drive from the airport and once in the area, there is little public transport aside from the lake’s many ferries and expensive taxis, therefore a car rental is highly recommended.
After a long wait collecting the car, we finally hit the road and arrived at our destination, The Grand Hotel Cadenabbia. This four star hotel was ideally located in the village of Cadenabbia and possesses a lake front address in Lake Como’s golden triangle, a corner where the villages of Mennagio, Cadenabbia, Varenna and the popular Bellagio meet with the lake.
After enjoying a much-needed pizza and prosecco at a nearby cafe, we checked in to our room, unpacked and spent the late afternoon by the hotel’s pool area and bar unwinding (and sleeping off my food coma).
We took the short walk down to the village of Tremezzo and grabbed a delicious bite to eat at Cantina Follie. This hidden gem was recommended to us by a friend and it was exactly what we needed after a long day of travel. You enter through from the back streets of Tremezzo and through a large wine cellar, finally heading up to the terrace, where you can enjoy a sharing menu of local meats and cheeses, accompanied by a vast variety of different wines. It was one of our favourite evenings and I would highly recommend.
After indulging in Italian delights at Cantina Follie, we took a stroll along the lakeside and called into the spectacular five star Grand Hotel Tremezzo for a night cap of Aperol Spritz on the terrace.
We awoke to a fine morning in Como, and decided to take a short walk towards the breathtaking Villa Carlotta. The villa was built in the 18th century and is well known for its botanical gardens and vistas.
After enjoying some lunch on a lakeside pontoon in Tremezzo, we relaxed around the pool, basking in the warm sunshine.
Once again, we visited the Grand Hotel Tremezzo but this time, we sat by the pool bar, T.Beach. Champagne flowed.
We caught the ferry over to Bellagio and enjoyed a sunset stroll through the cobbled streets. We made a booking at Restaurant Silvio. This wonderful lake side restaurant is a ten minute walk from the ferry terminal in Bellagio. We stayed at the restaurant until it closed, watching the sun go down on another beautiful day by the Italian Lakes.
07:00 am- 07:00 pm
We woke up early and hopped aboard the coach from outside our hotel, to take a day trip from Lake Como to St. Moritz. We noticed the air beginning to cool as we took a short coffee break in the small town of Tirano. The excursion included a spectacular train ride through the Swiss Alps on the glass topped Bernina Express Train, and I must say- I have never seen picturesque views quite like it. From glacier lakes that reflect like mirrors to snow topped summits, the hills truly felt alive and I felt like Maria Von Trapp for the day as we journeyed from Italy to Switzerland.
Upon arriving into St. Moritz, we had a short time to grab a bite and explore the alpine resort (Warning: St.Moritz can be pricey and what might seem like a quick lunch, might set you back a pretty penny).
The sky was clear and the luxurious town glistened under the sun, but you could tell the resort would have more atmosphere during the thriving ski season.
Along the return route to Lake Como, we experienced more beautiful scenery, as we weaved from peak to peak, stopping off at the small Italian town of Chiavenna, for a much-needed strawberry gelato.
A wonderful trip full of diverse landscapes- if you are in Lake Como for a few days, try and book!
We wanted to make the most of our final day in the lakes, but unfortunately the weather was not on our side and the heavens opened! Being in the mountains, sadly Lake Como is prone to wet weather so it is good to have a contingency plan up your sleeve. For us, that plan was SPA!
We made a reservation at the Casta Diva Hotel & Spa and took a one hour drive across the other side of the lake. It was nice to see the view from an alternative perspective so we didn’t mind the travelling.
The 5 star spa is located underneath the hotel’s pontoon and on warmer, sunnier days, it boasts a pool on the lake itself. Being a stormy day, we settled for the warm baths, steam rooms and thermo spas! It was a perfect retreat from the damp outside.
The sun was out again! We drove from the spa to Bellagio and enjoyed an Italian lunch at one of the many pizzerias hidden among the cobbled passage ways. Bellagio can get very busy with tourists, so if you can, try and discover one of the hidden gems located off the beaten track.
For our final meal, we made a reservation at the coveted Locanda dell’Isola Comacina. We were told that everyone who visits Lake Como has to visit this restaurant during their time in the region. To access this one of a kind restaurant, you must first grab a small boat from Sala Comacina for 9 euros return.
As soon as you land on this small island, you are given a warm welcome and escorted to your table on the terrace, overlooking the stunning views.
At this restaurant there is only a set menu and for 75 euros pp you can enjoy a traditionally rustic 6 course meal accompanied by lashings of local wine. For the grand finale, guests are treated to a ‘fire ceremony’ as the head waiter tells stories of historic curses placed on the island and serves warm brandy coffee.
Celebrity visitors return again and again to Locanda dell’Isola Comacina, including my hero, Bruce Springsteen, and if it is good enough for ‘The Boss’, then what other recommendations does one need?! It was a wonderful experience and the rustic meal made a nice change from other offerings in the area.
Our meal at Locanda dell’Isola Comacina was a romantic way to end our blissful time in Lake Como. I look forward to exploring more from the Italian lakes and Milan some time in the future.
THREE MOVIES SET IN LAKE COMO
- Casino Royal (2006)
- Oceans Twelve (2004)
- Julia and Julia (2009)
I hope you found this post on Lake Como helpful.
Have you visited Lake Como or are you planning an upcoming trip? Comment below.
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