Lake Como is easily one of the most picturesque lake districts in Italy, known for being a sweeping seaside escape that is outfitted with palatial villas and rose-laden belvederes, accented by lanterns casting a soft glow over the surrounding area. Comfortably situated near the bustling city of Milan, Lake Como is a haven of tranquility that has been captivating travelers for years. Surrounded by surreal snow-capped mountains, and dotted with gorgeous villages that maintain a remarkably enchanting atmosphere, this region has withstood the test of time. Absorb the lake’s history, culture and elegance as you read more about five of the principle towns nestled along the shores of Lake Como.
Often described as the “Pearl of the Lake”, Bellagio is a destination that beckons to be explored. The village is characterized by century-old buildings, windows adorned with geraniums ablaze with color, beautiful stone lanes and atmospheric cobbled streets. In this beautiful setting where the three branches of Lake Como meet, hidden gems are plentiful throughout, so you shouldn’t be surprised when you find secluded stairways filled with quaint shops showcasing some of the finest Italian wares tucked just around the corner from the city’s busier streets. Immerse yourself in tradition and romance as you follow one of Bellagio’s walking routes for insight into days gone by, or follow your senses to discover the fresh flavors of gelato or the enticing aromas of Italy’s quintessential sidewalk cafes.
Varenna is an ancient fishing village that has an alluring charisma all its own, where steep and winding alleys are laced with homes dripping in colorful floral designs. The city of Varenna overlooks Bellagio, while also sitting under the protective gaze of Castello di Vezio, a medieval fortress that boasts impeccable views over the entire lake. Climb to the castle’s tower and take in the panoramic prospects, or stroll through the property’s expanses of olive gardens. Spend some time walking through Varenna’s web of alleyways, imagining them being stripped of their modern accoutrements. Envisioning your surroundings this way will help you imagine what life was like in Varenna before the area’s beauty was discovered by the masses.
Along with Belaggio and Varenna, Menaggio makes up the final third of the Lake Como’s “golden triangle”. With an impressive lakeside promenade set against a serene mountain backdrop, pure bliss is waiting for you along the shores of Menaggio. Recognized for its extensive offering of activities and exquisite backdrop, as opposed to its selection of cultural attractions, for many individuals, Menaggio is actually the most attractive place on the western side of Lake Como. Use this destination as a base to venture to Lake Lugano in Switzerland, or embark on a breathtaking mountain hike just on the outskirts of town. The city’s convenient location also makes it a favored ski destination during the winter months, casting it as the perfect vacation spot during all seasons.
Exclusivity is the overarching theme throughout the city of Como, where visitors are met with spectacular scenery around every bend. Como’s waterfront is the primary focus of life in the city, which provides an elegant resort atmosphere that makes this destination an ideal starting point for exploring smaller surrounding villages and towns. When beginning in Como, travelers are able to experience the furthest point of the western arm of the lake, encountering one beautiful community after another, tucked away in the mountains that lie parallel to the calm waters of Lake Como.
At the very end of Lake Como, Lecco is a lovely town that might not cater to tourists as extensively as its glamorous counterparts do, but we are confident travelers will find plenty of divine scenery and a shapely calendar of events that will keep them busy during their time in the city. Enjoying a unique geographical position, Lecco is surrounded by mystic, almost fairytale-like stretches of countryside, and also finds itself barricaded between two unbroken mountain chains. A vacation in Lecco will provide many paths and trails that intertwine to create a vibrant and fascinating itinerary.
Planning Your Vacation in Italy
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