Lake Como is one of those destinations that has been calling to us for several years, and this year we finally got the chance to visit! We spent 3 nights in this incredible region and had the most amazing time. If you are looking for a couple things to do while you’re in the area, check out what we did below!
We made it to Lake Como from Milan by taking a regional Trenord train from Milano Centrale to the Como S. Giovanni station. You can easily buy tickets from a kiosk or at their offices in the station.
Once in Como we caught a bus to our Airbnb (you can purchase tickets from a convenience store in the station for a couple euros per person, just ask the attendant), which was located just outside the central part of town. I will link our Airbnb here, as it was a really great stay, despite the non-central location, and it had an incredible view of the lake for a pretty affordable price. Como was our hub for the duration of our stay which was feasible, but next time I may choose a location like Bellagio or Varenna, to reduce some of the travel time each day.
After getting settled at our Airbnb the first night, we got up decently early to catch the 8:30 AM ferry from Como to Lenno . We purchased tickets that morning and opted for a day pass as we were going to be taking the ferry three times that day and it worked out to be a little cheaper that way.
We arrived in Lenno around 11:45am, and we walked around 10 minutes over to Lido di Lenno to catch a water taxi to Villa Balbianello, where we had booked the 12:30pm tour. The water taxi stand was easy to find, if you follow the coastline toward Lido di Lenno you can’t miss it. There is only one taxi, and it only has room for around 10 people, so you may have to wait for the next one if there is already a line. The taxi cost around 7 euros per person and took around 15 minutes to get to the villa. Overall, it was a really nice way to get to and from the villa. We had our tour around the villa and looked around the gardens before heading back to the ferry station to catch a boat over to Bellagio.
We ended up arriving to Bellagio a little later than expected as we missed our boat (this station is a little less organized than the one in Como, so it was difficult to understand which boat was which). This meant when we arrived in Bellagio, we basically hopped straight onto our water limousine tour, which was going to take us around the more famous villas of the lake. The boat tour was about one hour and was a nice excursion. You’re able to see some of the coast a little closer than you get to on the ferry and the commentary was also enjoyable. If I were to do this again however, I would opt for the tour + Villa Balbianello visit, as you are going mostly in the same direction and it kind of makes more sense logistics wise.
We then did a mad dash through Bellagio, grabbed some ice cream, a souvenir or two and headed back to Como on the 6:20pm ferry. We arrived back in Como at 7:05pm, made dinner in our Airbnb, and called it a day.
The following day we woke up and were planning on getting an early morning ferry to Varenna. We were planning on getting the speed ferry, however tickets sold out (it was a Sunday and quite busy) so decided to walk around Como for a little bit before catching a ferry to Varenna a few hours later. This meant we had less time overall in Varenna, however I still feel like we were able to do a lot in the small town.
We arrived in Varenna around 3pm, and took a stroll down Lovers Walk toward the main part of town. From there we headed to Villa Cipressi to walk around their botanic gardens. We also opted for the combination ticket with the Villa Monastero as that was also on our radar for the day. We stopped for coffee and a snack in the gardens and had a great time strolling around and taking in the fantastic views and lushness of these villas. Once we had our fill we walked back toward the ferry building and arrived back in Como around 8pm.
This was the first leg of the trip and already I could tell that Italy runs on a much slower pace than I was used to. We had to cut a few things out from our itinerary due to time constraints (such as the funicular in Como, Castello di Vezio, and the town of Menaggio), however this just leaves us with something to look forward to if we are ever lucky enough to return!
Here is a breakdown of the costs in this leg of the trip (excluding meals):
|Airbnb (3 nights)||$526|
|Ferry||~$50 (for 2 day passes)|
|Villa Tour||$50 (for 2 tickets)|
|Water Limosine Tour||$117 (for 2)|
|Villa Entrance (Combo Ticket)||$40|