If you live in Europe and are looking for a weekend getaway, look no further than Como Lake. Abount 45 minutes away by car from Milan Malpensa Airport, the lake’s surrounding towns are extremely pretty. Set against the foothills of the Alps, the lake is shaped like an upside-down Y, with three slender branches that meet at the resort town of Bellagio. At the bottom of the southwest branch lies the city of Como and Cernobbio where we went to attend a wedding ceremony last weekend.
Flying from Qatar and Germany, we hired a car at Milan Malpensa Airport. As the wedding took place at the evening, we headed to ‘the pearl of Lake Como’ – Bellagio directly from the airport. Bellagio town is characterised by century-old buildings, stone lanes and picturesque cobbled stairways filled with shops showcasing the finest Italian wares. It is very small so you can easily walk around the town’s narrow streets, dine in one of the Italian restaurants, shop Italian fine leather and even swim in the stunning lake. If you don’t have a car, you can take the train from Milan to Como Town and then a ferry to Bellagio. You can even take your car in the ferry but parking may be a problem in this little town.
If you visit Bellagio, don’t miss the Basilica of San Giacomo and the stone tower (“Torre delle Arti Bellagio“), and avoid summer time if you don’t like the crowds. Restaurants and hotels are a bit expensive but the town itself is definitely worth a visit.
Varenna is an attractive village on the eastern shore of Lake Como, looking over the central part of the lake towards Bellagio. The best way to get there from Bellagio is a ferry, and the return trip costs 9 Euros per person. This fishing village which dates back to the 11th century offers panoramic views and cafes overlooking the colourful houses on the shores of the lake. Walk along the lakeside, and you will be amazed by the breathtaking views. Personally, Varenna is my favourite but others are also not to be missed.
Our last stop was Cernobbio. It is located about 40 kilometres north of Milan and about 2 kilometres northwest of Como, on the border with Switzerland and near the Lake Como. This little town is a popular holiday resort because of its proximity to the city of Como.
Other than checking out villas, having a bite at one of the restaurants and taking a walk near the lake watching swans, you can drive up to the Monte Bisbino taking the cycling route. It is a mountain of the Lugano Prealps, located west of Lake Como, and the view from the top is spectacular.
If you are considering to stay in Cernobbio, you have a lot of options. We stayed at Hotel Asnigo which has views of the lake and an outdoor pool. Villa d’Este is another option if you are into a bit of luxury. We were not allowed to check out Villa d’Este but it seemed pretty from the outside.