Lake Como Travel Guide
DESTINATION: LAKE COMO, ITALY
TRAVEL TIME: 8 HOUR FLIGHT FROM NYC
STAY: 3 DAYS
HOTEL: The Grand Hotel Tremezzo
While we are currently enjoying our time in Italy we thought it would be the perfect time to bring you our travel guide from our first trip to Lake Como last November. Prior to going, we had wanted to visit Italy together for a long time. Matt especially wanted to visit Lake Como. Well, we made it and while we only had a few days, it was amazing. Despite our short time there, this place left a lasting impression on us. If you plan to visit, we hope you find this guide helpful.
HOW TO GET TO…
We flew direct from Newark to Milan as it’s the closest major airport to Lake Como. There are a number of airlines that fly direct from the US to Milan so you have plenty of options. Since Como is right near the border of Switzerland, you could also fly into Zurich or Geneva even and take a train.
Once we arrived at the Malpensa airport we took the train to downtown Como. You take the Malpensa Express and get off at the Saronno station. From there you catch the train to Como Lago. You’ve arrived! Now you can catch transportation to whichever town you are staying in.
Once we arrived in Como, we took a bus up the western coast of the lake to where we were staying in Tremezzo. There are so many beautiful little towns along the way so it really depends on where you want to be on the lake. Here is a link that shares all your options for transportation.
On the way back, we took the ferry down to Como. From Bellagio, we hopped on the speed ferry. This took about 50 minutes. Once we were off the boat, we walked to the Como San Giovanni station to grab the train to Milan (Milano Centrale). The ride took about 40-45 minutes. Trains are a nice and comfortable way to travel. From there we walked to our hotel right across the street from the station. We wanted to sleep before heading to the airport the next morning. We caught the express train from Milano Centrale to the Malpensa airport. It drops you off at both terminals 1 & 2. It’s really easy and only takes about an hour.
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed in the town of Tremezzo at The Grand Hotel Tremezzo. It is about 19 miles north of Como along the western side of the lake. The Grand is perfectly situated right along the shore. Just across the lake is Bellagio with Varenna just a little further north. It has over a century of history and is just exquisite in every way. It has a vintage feel with all the charm and class you could want.
While the hotel and grounds are majestic, you immediately feel a sense of relaxation once you enter. There are nearly five acres of perfectly manicured grounds to explore. They have an incredible spa with an infinity pool as well. You could spend all day there! The floating pool is also an excellent feature that gives the illusion of swimming in the lake. There are Five floors of rooms and 5 areas to dine. It’s truly a luxury experience.
WHAT TO DO
Right next door to our hotel was the Villa Carlotta. It’s a magnificent botanical garden and museum. The gardens and views from the different levels are truly breathtaking. There is something about walking through perfectly curated gardens that is so relaxing. We spent an hour or so walking the grounds before catching the boat over to Varenna.
At The Grand, There is a short (10 min) hike up to a lookout point on top of the hill that looks out over the lake. The views were magnificent. We hiked up one morning to catch the sunset before breakfast. It’s incredible to have a view like that without having to hike a few miles to get to it. It was a wonderful experience.
This popular little town is stunning and is located directly across from Tremezzo. It’s about a six-minute boat ride across the lake. The approach is something to behold. The buildings are an array of colors that are so inviting. It just makes you want to explore. Once you dock, there are restaurants and cafes on the waterfront. We decided to head deeper into the town. We walked up the stone hill to a little place that was recommended to us for a bite to eat. With only a few hours to spend here we didn’t walk around too much but what we saw was so beautiful. We will definitely head back over to explore more when we return to Como.
We took an afternoon ferry over to Varenna. It’s the stop just after Bellagio. It is a quieter town but just as gorgeous. There is a castle situated at the front of the mountain just above the town. It was a pretty tough 20 min hike up. We didn’t realize it was an actual hike but it was great. It had stellar views. The sweetest old lady showed us the way from out her window about halfway up when we weren’t sure which way to go. She was so sweet and had a super cute dog. We got there right as they were closing. So we only had about 15 minutes to walk around and snap some pictures.
WHERE TO EAT
We ate at The Grand for breakfast and for one of our dinners. The food is outstanding and you simply can’t beat the atmosphere. For breakfast, we sat out on the terrace overlooking the lake. It’s certainly not a bad way to enjoy the first meal of the day. They have a huge spread laid out and plenty of options regardless of your diet. For dinner, we dined at their new LeEscale Trattoria & Wine Bar. The inside dining area is reminiscent of a wine cellar. You are surrounded by over a thousand bottles of wine and get to eat delicious classic dishes with a contemporary twist. It’s a great spot!
We ate at a really cute little corner spot called Barchetta. It is located just up the beautiful stone steps that rise into the town just above the lakefront. It’s exactly what you would imagine a cute little Italian eatery would look like. We sat right in the front outside by the window just off the stairs we climbed up. We ate pasta, fish, drank wine, and people watched. It was the perfect way to spend lunch.
We ended up having dinner in Varenna after we were done hiking down from the castle. Our boat back to Tremezzo wasn’t for an hour or so. We decided to grab a bite to eat while we waited. Trattoria Cavallino is right by the water with incredible views of the lake. The pasta and fish were delicious. The fish *(white fish) is caught daily in the lake. We shared a couple of glasses of wine and just enjoyed the quiet beauty of Varenna. It’s nothing fancy but on that night the setting was very romantic.
Como is one of the most beautiful places Matt and I have ever been. It was a short trip but it felt amazing to be out of the city and on the water surrounded by mountains. While we explore a different part of Italy this time around we can’t wait to head back to Lake Como. Sebastian will be coming along as well next time. Would love to hear what your favorite places are in Como.
Thanks so much for reading!
Great post! I’ve never been to Lake Como . Thanks for your insights .
Dress The Part
I love the red rain coat you are wearing. Mind sharing the brand?