Wander Through The Natural Beauty of Lake Como Italy
The Lake Como area had always been on my bucket list.. I knew it had to be fabulous, but I admittedly was unprepared for the dramatic scenery that surrounds this Lake! The backdrop of the snow-covered Swiss Alps with the gorgeous lakeside villas dotting the foreground was like nothing I’d ever seen before. ‘Spectacular’ would have to be the best choice of word.
We took the train for an easy thirty minute commute from Milan. Our destination, Como, on the southern tip of Lake Como. We found it to be an extremely easy city to walk, comprised of winding side streets filled with an array of shops and cafes, surrounding the Cathedral of Como in the main piazza. The city, once thought of as a transit hub, continues to build its own tourist following. There are numerous works of art, gardens, parks, museums, and churches to see.
Although small, this city doesn’t disappoint. As with most cities in Italy, there were several street performers throughout town. For some old world charm and a unique shopping experience, visit the street market in Como. You’ll find it along the old city wall on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and all day Saturday.
From Como you can take a funicular (a cable train) ride which ascends to the mountaintop town of Brunate, 1600 feet over the lake. You’ll have some great views of the lake and neighboring Switzerland from this vantage point. It’s worth a look, but no mountaintop view can rival the grandeur witnessed by boat.
All roads in Como lead to the lakefront. The lakefront park is a great place to sit with some gelato and enjoy the scenery while you wait for your ferry or water taxi. For more info on ferries and boats, visit www.lakecomo.it.
Around The Lake
I want to say ‘the best way’, but I really think ‘the only way’ to see all what the Lake Como towns have to offer, is by taking a ferry or private boat. From Como this is the most scenic way to get to some of the quaint towns along the lake. A must see is the beautiful resort village of Bellagio. Surely the prettiest town on the lake. This is the best town for shopping with loads of boutiques located up and down the steep cobblestone streets. Be ready for a workout!
It was a chilly 45 degrees when we arrived in Bellagio, but with the sun burning bright and the surrounding mountains keeping the cold breezes at bay, we were surprised to see the outdoor seating for the area restaurants full. We happily joined the crowds. We had lunch at Ristorante La Punta for the view. The food was very good, the view amazing, cold weather be damned. Before you go, one of the main attractions in Bellagio is the beautiful gardens of Villa Melzi, just a short walk from the ferry terminal!
Some Lake Como Towns
Varenna is a small but charming fishing village. If your plan is to just stroll and enjoy the views you’re in the right place, otherwise there’s not much to do. In Tremezzo, visit the Villa Carlotta mansion, originally built for a marquis in 1690 and now an art museum surrounded by elegant gardens. Menaggio is a little larger with a beautiful lakefront promenade.
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