We have all heard about the favourite place of celebrities where they like to spend some time in their own villas away from the fan crowds and busy cities – the astonishing lake Como.
For our three-day stay we decided to book accomodation in the town of Como, so that we have a bigger number of restaurants to choose from, supermarkets right behind the corner and big streets to park our car on. It is also a covinient starting point for a day trip around the lake.
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Here is a three day itinerary:
Bergamo – Como
Our flight was to Bergamo, where we arrived early in the morning, rented a car from the airport and drove to the town of Como where we arrived around 11 a.m.. We spent the day there, walking in the old town, enjoying some great seafood and gelato. We found a great affordable restaurant near the lake with tables outside – Napule E’ Lago
Apart from the cathedral at Piazza Duomo, the lake is the other big attraction in town, so just walk around, enjoy the small Italian streets and the good food.
Tip: Go to a supermarket and buy products for sandwiches which to take with you on the next day, because you might get quite hungry from all the walking and it is great to sit next to the lake in one of the beautiful villas, enjoy a homemade meal and then continue with the sightseeing.
Bellagio and Villa Melzi
We wanted to see villa Melzi first, so we left early in the morning and headed to the town of Bellagio – it is a 1h drive along the coast, with beautiful view of the lake. Before reaching the entrance of the villa, located closer to the town center (there is another entrance at the opposite side near the family chapel), on the right side you will see the free parking. You then have to walk down the road for a couple of minutes and you will reach the entrance. Unfortunately visitors cannot enter the villa but only the garden. Still, it is an experience not to miss. The ticket is Euro 6,50, check the website for further information.
Have a pleasant walk in Bellagio, see the villa Serbelloni at the end of the lakeside (now a luxury hotel, then turn right up the hill and then another right turn to walk along the street which is parallel to the lakeside. You will then see the small piaza with the cathedral, where you will find many souvenir shops, coffee places and yummi gelato. If you walk a bit further you will see the sign for the library, then turn right. The library will be on your right and on the left you will see the entrance for a nice small park, which will lead you back to the lakeside.
Varenna and Villa Monastero
Take your car and drive to the ferry stop in the center. The “ride” to Varenna takes 10 minutes, costs 15 Euros for a car and two adults. Then look for Villa Monastero. A huge paid parking is located right in front of it, so you can leave the car there. The entrance for the garden is Euro 5, for the garden and the house museum – Eur 8. Keep in mind that the museum doesn’t work every day so plan your visit accordingly. We only got to see the garden, but it was still worth it. Check their website for more information.
Then it was time to enjoy the Italian cousine – II Cavatappi is a small restaurant with only three tables outside and a few more inside so you will be very lucky if you get to sit there without a reservation. A table was waiting for us outside and we enjoyed some nice food after a busy day.
On our way to the car we found a great small beach in front of hotel Royal Victoria, a swan family kept us company while we were enjoying the last rays of light. Then we drove back to Como town.
Castello di Vezio
Initially the plan was to go and see also Castello di Vezio, but there was no time left for it. If you get up earlier and leave for Bellagio on time, you will have enough time to see the castle as well. http://www.castellodivezio.it/ It is located in a 20 min drive from Varenna, and after a short but strenuous walk up to the castle, you will be able to enjoy a breathtaking scenery.
Villa del Balbianello
Our plan for our last day at the lake was to see the fairytale-like Villa del Balbianello.
I was quite surprised when I found out that the villa I have seen in so many movies is actually located on the tip of a small peninsula on lake Como. The entrance fee for the garden is EUR 10, for both garden and the villa – EUR 20. It is open every day except for Mondays and Wednesdays. There is a free parking where you can leave your car and then you have to walk to the villa for some 30 minutes. Only the visit of the villa takes 1h, so 2-2:30 h for the whole place would be sufficient.
Tip: Wear comfortable shoes.
We wanted to go to Villa Carlotta afterwards, since it is located in a 10 min drive from Villa del Balbianello, but the weather was not so good and we decided to go back to Como town, have an evening walk and dinner. Here is the website of the villa.
Tip: If you plan your day and leave for Villa del Balbianello earlier in the morning you will have time to visit both places.
For the dinner we chose Ristorante Funicolare which is a great place, with excellent service and food, and a view of the lake.
Plan a long weekend in this magical place, you will fall in love with it!