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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Chee

How to Explore Lake Como, Italy

Nestled in the Northern region of Lombardy is Lake Como. Home to many aristocratic and celebrity villas, including one of George Clooney’s holiday properties, the resort area is set across an expansive lake with a panoramic backdrop of the Alps. Small towns are constellated across the lake, providing various activities and tourist attractions worth visiting.


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We have collated a guide for your next vacation to Lake Como.


Transport


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The best means of transport around the lake is definitely by car, or mopeds which are available to rent, enabling you to live out your perfect European adventure. Train is also accessible at Como San Giovanni, Lake Como’s main station, or Como Nord Lago, which provides direct transport to Milan in under an hour. Boat is also an option; the Cadanazzi family have been operating their famous luxury tours since 1904 and provide voyages past the rustic residences resting along the Como shoreline.


Como

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The largest and most populated area of the area is Como town. With a population of 85,000 however, it still provides the quaint and exclusive ambience that Lake Como carries. With plenty of bars, restaurants and shops to explore, Como provides an afternoon of indulgence. Bars are nestled along the lakefront, catering for stellar views of the lake and the spanning villas at the lake's edge.


To explore the history of Como, be sure to visit the Piazza Duomo, one of Italy’s renowned Gothic and Renaissance cathedrals, which also provides guests access to the top, enabling guests to see Como from a whole different angle. For alternative views of the city, take the Funicular up to the small town of Brunate, located in the mountains overlooking Como and eat at one of their overlooking terrace restaurants.


Bellagio

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Known for its luxurious appeal, Bellagio is the most famous town and is often regarded as the Pearl of Lake Como. Accessible from Como in under an hour’s drive around the lake, it is a must-visit when in the area. Explore the beautiful gardens and grand villas, including the infamous Villa Melzi and Villa Carlotta, and perhaps stay at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, with its panoramic swimming pool view of Lake Como, and exquisitely detailed interior design. For day stayers, take the Bellagio Express – a little tourist train – with its hop-on, hop-off service for an easy cruise around the town.


If you are searching for something a little less extravagant, consider a visit to Pescallo village, hidden from the crowds behind the sweeping hills. Just a short walk away from Bellagio, it provides water sports and activities for those brave enough to brace Lake Como’s cool waters. Pescallo is also accessible by the Bellagio Express, enabling visitors to visit both the hubbub of Bellagio and the quaint fishing village all in one afternoon.


Varenna

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If you are searching for the beauty of Bellagio without the bustling tourists, take a boat across to Varenna. Nestled across the bay, the commune provides a typical outlook of Lake Como locations. Combining quaintness with luxury, Varenna is also home to luxurious villas for your perusal, including Villa Monastero and Villa Cipressi. Better yet, it also houses its very own medieval fortress – Castello di Vezio – overlooking the town that is open for visitors' own exploration.


Lecco


As an endpoint to your journey, Lecco is a 30-minute drive from Bellagio and is home to the Palace of Fears. The museum exhibits thousands of contemporary art pieces for visitors, allowing for hours of exploration.


For other exploration alternatives, Lecco caters to some beautiful views along their hiking trails. Both serious and scenic walks are open to visitors, including a trail that provides a Craft Beer Tasting and Sunset View at the top of Mount Resegone. For those seeking the view with minimal effort, a cable car service is available to the peak of Piana D’Erna, providing brilliant views of the city and surrounding terrain.


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Visiting Lake Como is an experience in itself. Whilst each quaint town boasts its own individual attractions, the best way to enjoy Lake Como is to mindlessly explore the lake. Beaches are dotted all around, so be sure to visit a variety during your stay. Travelling at your own pace and perusal, you can stumble across unknown attractions, which only adds to the Italian experience.

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