Lake Como has a rich history that dates back to the Roman Empire. The lake was an important transportation route for the Romans and was used to transport goods and people across the Alps. In the Middle Ages, Lake Como was controlled by various feudal lords and was an important center of trade and commerce. During the Renaissance, the lake became a popular destination for artists and writers, who were drawn to its natural beauty and picturesque villages. In the 19th century, Lake Como became a popular destination for wealthy Europeans and was known for its luxurious villas and hotels. Today, Lake Como remains a popular destination for tourists from around the world, who come to enjoy its natural beauty, charming villages, and interesting history.
We decided to explore Lake Como via car and ferry. We hired a car using DiscoverCars, after landing in Milan Malpensa International Airport. This is the closest airport to Lake Como (just 21 miles away) we drove straight from Malpensa Airport to our first stop. We began our trip around Lake Como at Como City itself. This beautiful city lies at the foot of the lake and is the largest city on Lake Como. It's known for its spectacular cathedral, charming old town, and stunning views. Be sure to check out the Como Cathedral and the Tempio Voltiano while you're there. If you have time, head to the Funiclar Railway upto Brunate for the best aerial views of the Lake.
Next on our list was the small village of Nesso. Just a 25 minute drive around the Lake, Nesso is a quaint lakeside village famously known for being split in half by the picturesque Nesso Gorge or as it's locally known: Orrido di Nesso. Enjoy a stunning walk around this stone-paved village and take a peaceful nature walk for panoramic views of the Lake.
After this, we headed to what's more commonly known as the Pearl of Lake Como, the beautiful village of Bellagio. This is probably the most famous village around Lake Como; with it's perfectly placed cobbled lanes, elegant buildings and the 18th century terraced garden Villa Serbelloni Park. Here you could spend a full day shopping in the designer stores, enjoy great local cuisine or take an enchanting walk around the village. The village has been a popular destination for many people throughout history, including Stendhal, Franz Liszt and Winston Churchill. It also inspired the famous Las Vegas hotel named after the town Bellagio itself. They wanted to capture the charm and elegance of the Italian town and has now become one of the most popular and iconic landmarks in Las Vegas.
There are also great ferry connections here: you can take the round-trip 'Golden Triangle' ferry from Bellagio to Menaggio, then to Varenna. Menaggio is a great town, very popular with tourists like the other towns around Lake Como. This charming village is located on the western shore of the lake and is known for its beautiful promenade and stunning views. Be sure to check out the Villa Carlotta and the Castello di Menaggio while you're there. It has beaches, plenty of restaurants and places to hike to keep you entertained for several hours. Verenna is located on the eastern shore of the lake and is known for its colorful houses and narrow streets. Be sure to check out the Villa Monastero and the Castello di Vezio while you're there.
After returning from our ferry in Bellagio, we ate at our favourite restaurant around the lake which is Ristorante La Punta. Here you can relax whilst taking in the unreal surroundings of Lake Como and enjoying some great food. There are so many great restaurants to choose from in Lake Como! Here are a few of our favorites:
1. Ristorante La Punta: This restaurant is located in the town of Bellagio and offers stunning views of the lake. It's known for its fresh seafood and homemade pasta dishes.
2. Trattoria del Glicine: This cozy restaurant is located in the town of Varenna and serves delicious Italian cuisine. It's known for its homemade gnocchi and tiramisu.
3. Il Gatto Nero: This elegant restaurant is located in the town of Cernobbio and has been serving delicious food since 1965. It's known for its traditional Italian cuisine and has a great selection of wines.
4. La Darsena: This restaurant is located in the town of Tremezzina and offers beautiful views of the lake. It's known for its fresh fish dishes and has a great selection of wines.
5. Crotto dei Platani: This restaurant is located in the town of Brienno and is known for its rustic atmosphere and delicious food. It's a great place to try some local specialties like polenta and wild boar.
Depending on when your visiting Lake Como, there are lots of events which take place around the Lake throughout the year. If you're spending a few days around the Lake, then we suggest you try and fit an event into your itinerary, you definitely won't regret it! Here are a few that you might be interested in:
1. Festival of San Giovanni: This festival takes place on June 24th in the town of Como and includes a fireworks display over the lake and a boat parade.
2. Lake Como Film Festival: This festival takes place in July and showcases independent films from around the world.
3. Palio del Baradello: This festival takes place in August and includes a medieval parade and a jousting competition.
4. Como Città della Musica: This festival takes place throughout the summer and includes concerts and performances by local and international musicians.
5. Lake Como Wine Festival - We know we don't need to say anything more to persuade you to visit Lake Como for this festival. Drink to your hearts content and taste divine local wines in the month of July.
If this article isn't enough to convince you to travel to Lake Como, then we don't know what will! Lake Como is a magical destination that has something to offer for everyone. From the stunning natural beauty of the Lake and surrounding mountains to the charming villages dotted around the Lake, there is no shortage of things to see or do here. Lake Como is a must-visit destination that will leave you with unforgettable memories.
Thank you to Stephen & Elaine for inspiring our Lake Como trip!
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