If there’s anywhere that epitomises the idyllic life, it would be Lake Como. The Y-shaped gem in the Lombardy region of northern Italy is one of the most popular destinations today. It’s allure lies in its picturesque views of the Swiss mountains and opulent architecture with stories to share. An air of tranquility surrounds it. Lake Como is only an hour train ride from Milan. The town of Como is where you’d find a local vibe, countless restaurants serving classic Italian fare and a network of ferries heading to the smaller villages and lakeside towns.
Buses and water ferries are the way to get around. The fast ferry gets you to Bellagio around 45 minutes while the slow ferry takes around 2 hours and allows you a glimpse of the many towns along the lake as you stop at each.
The town, Como, is where you will find boutiques and restaurants but our favourite place to stay at is a quiet, lakeside villa away from it all. Named All’Era 3, owner Antonio’s AirBnb is truly divine. It is a typical lacustrine stone house situated in a small ancient village along the lake of Como: Pognana Lario.
The house welcomes us with a small terrace full of plants, where in Spring until the end of Summer you can relax under a grapes pergola. The heart of the house is a big kitchen characterised by the presence of an impressive chimney. The two-storey house is deeply romantic. It also has an attic where you can enjoy the picturesque lake and gaze at stars.
Things to Do
- The marble-clad duomo in Como Cathedral is a must-go. Built between 14th and 18th Century, the cathedral has a high octagonal dome ceiling and Gothic architecture.
- Check out the beautiful Villa del Balbianello, a villa in the comune of Lenno. It was built in 12th century and used by many filmmakers to shoot some scenes, including that of the Star Wars films.
- If you’re looking to see the lake from a different viewpoint, visit the Funicolare Como-Brunate for sweeping views of Lake Como.
- Visit the Villa Carlotta, located a short 9-15 minute ferry ride from Bellagio. Explore the beautiful, extensive gardens here.
- Villa Olmo. Take your time to enjoy the paintings and stunning interiors. It’s like a mini Versailles.
Lungo Lario Trento, 5, 22100 Como CO, Italy
A local favourite and one of the best spots for gelato.
La Vita e’ Bella
Piazza Domenico Croggi, 4, 22100 Como CO, Italy
A great restaurant on Piazza Domenico Croggi for a romantic dinner date. They serve classic Italian fare with a healthy touch. There are many varieties of salads and vegetarian choices on the menu.
Salita Antonio Mella, 4, 22021 Bellagio CO, Italy
A mid-range restaurant that’s great for those who wish to have vegan or gluten-free choices while on holiday.
Via Gaggio, 1/bis, 22013 Domaso CO, Italy
As its name goes, Agriturismo Sorasso sources its produce from its adjoining farm and prepares their rustic dishes using traditional cooking styles. The restaurant boasts an amazing view of Lake Como from the northern end, where it is situated. Every dish here exudes a homely, local taste that will be very memorable.
Antica Trattoria del Risorgimento
Via Sant’Abbondio, 8, 22010 Azzano CO, Italy
A quiet family-run trattoria with reasonable prices. Truly charming and tucked away from the crowds.
Ristorante Aurora Lezzeno
Via Sossana, 2, 22025 Lezzeno CO, Italy
This restaurant specialises in lake fish and a wonderful selection of local dishes.
Trattoria del Porto
Via Al Pontile, 22020 Nesso CO, Italy
This trattoria offers Italian cuisine in a casual, informal setting. Food is delicious and well-executed.
The Market Place
Via Gerolamo Borsieri, 21, 22100 Como CO, Italy
Run by chef Davide Maci, The Market Place is a beautiful restaurant that focuses on quality ingredients and fine culinary endeavours. It will be lovely to try their set menus and bond with loved ones over some wine.
Bar Caffe Rossi
Piazza Giuseppe Mazzini, 22, 22021 Bellagio CO, Italy
Located in Bellagio, this elegant bar is decked out in Art Nouveau wood and mirrors. A favourite spot to while away the night with friends.
Locanda Dell’isola Comacine
Isola Comacina, 22010 Como CO, Italy
Freed from the burden of choosing the food – it’s a set menu, featuring lake-trout and chicken – diners can watch a choreographed show, all dancing pepper-mills and splashes of olive oil, whose pièce de résistance is the host’s ‘fire ceremony’, in which Benvenuto deploys brandy, sugar, coffee and matches while offering a potted history of the island in an exotic variety of English picked up when he was a waiter at the Penthouse Club in London – all to exorcise a curse put on the island by a 12th-century bishop of Como. The bill is way too high for the decidedly rustic cuisine – but it does include that show, and a marvellous view from the terrace.