One of our favorite parts of the trip! We absolutely fell in love with Lake Como. The whole area was breathtaking and the views were just amazing from every angle and we completely soaked up our time there… this is definitely a place that we want to go back to one day.
The train ride from Milan was only about 35 minutes and I had booked our train ride to stop at Como S Giovanni (since the hotel website said to do so), but apparently there was another train stop that is even closer to the lake! So we got off the train stop and didn’t see water anywhere! I was confused, wasn’t sure if we were supposed to take a bus or cab or what to get to our ferry, or if we were even in the right area! I knew that we had to get on a ferry to get to our hotel, I just didn’t know where the ferry stations were!
Luckily there was a bar at the station so we decided to ask if they could tell us how to get to the ferry station and confirm we were in the right place. They were Asian and looked pretty nice so I proceeded to the bartender and sparked up a conversation… It went something like this…
Dennis: “Do you know how to get to the ferries?”
Dennis: “Do you speak english?”
Bartender: “No English”
Dennis: “Do you speak Chinese?”
Dennis: (Busted out my mandarin and BAM!!) I asked him how to get to the water so we can take the ferry to Tremezzo, and we then we were off!
All those years of Chinese School finally paid off! haha! Luckily the train station was only about a 10 minute walk down the hill, we got our stuff and headed down to the ferries. We purchased a pass to go on the “Service Rapido” (Hyrdofoil or “fast boat” which was the faster boat with less stops and finally we were off to our hotel! There were three stops to get to our hotel on Tremezzo and while on the boat your get some pretty great views of the lake. I kept asking the folks who worked on the boats “Hotel Grand Tremezzo” and they were looking at me like a fool, and said “Yes, Yes”.
Note to friends: Make sure when you get to Lake Como, and if your stop is available off the Service Rapido, you take it, cause it will save you time. This boat makes much less stops and is supposed to be faster as well
Once we arrived at Tremezzo we immediately fell in love with the place! The hotel was Amazing and was only about a 100 meter walk to the hotel from the ferry stop! There was a floating pool in the lake and from the outside the whole hotel just looked amazing. It had beautiful terraces that overlooked the lake and over to the town across the way, Bellagio. The lobby was also very impressive, with vibrant colors and old style furniture but looked modern at the same time.
We went to the check in counter and when I gave them our name, they gave us some of the best news we heard in a while, they said “We have your baggage!”. WOO HOOOO! What a relief! Getting our bag along with loving our hotel just made Lake Como all the sweeter. We freshened up a bit and decided to go for a walk around the town. Our concierge gave us some recos on places for dinner. Of course we didn’t listen and decided to go to the place that looked the most crowded! We ended up going to El Timon, a restaurant just about a couple hundred yards from our hotel, but regretted after! It was so crowded, their service was horrible, and their food was just so so. Lesson learned, don’t just go to a restaurant because it looks crowded! (i did however get a nice shot right outside the restaurant… Ben/Paul, this ones for you guys…haha)
After dinner we went for a walk along the lakeside and went looking for Gelato. Have no fear, cause there is gelato everywhere! (and you’ll see plenty more references to it on our trip, ha). We found a restaurant/bar that served gelato and decided to stop there and sit along the cliff side that overlooked the lake. One thing we noticed as we walked around was that there was a lot of old people everywhere! At first we thought maybe it was just the area that we were in, but turns out Lake Como is a very popular place to go among the “older” generation of Brits! (How did I find that out?) I actually ended up talking with the restaurant owner since I noticed she also had a British accent and she told me this tidbit of fact.
The next day we got up early and decided to do a morning run along the lakeside. We saw the sun come up over the mountains and the views were breathtaking. After the run, we decided to explore the the other major towns on Lake Como. We purchased a day pass and would highly recommend it. It allows you to take a ferry to each of the towns through out the day and evening. Make sure you get a map and departure times for the ferries so you can plan out your day since there are major breaks in between the day. The pass essentially lets you hop around the 4 major towns on Lake Como: Tremezzo, Bellagio, Verenna, and Magaggio. (take a look at the map below)
Our first stop was Bellagio. We walked around the town and climbed up the cobble stone narrow streets. We saw a bride and groom taking pics so we snuck in a few ourselves! The town wasn’t too crowded and had a lot of cute boutique shops. We stopped by Restorante Bisilca which is rated #1 on TripAdvisor. The food was REALLY good! Probably one of our top meals in Italy! We walked around the town again and then decided to head over to our next stop Varenna.
At first, glance the town seemed really small and didn’t have much to see. Rick Steves guidebook had actually recommended that people stay in this town so I had this impression that it was going to be much bigger than the other towns. But boy were we wrong! We walked out of the ferry stop and then went around the cliffs and were shocked to see the rest of the town there! This town did seem much livelier and had a ton more boutiques and restaurants everywhere. You can actually take a train directly from Milan Linarte (train stop) to Varenna. We kept walking along the trails that circled around the lakeside and passed by a cute little cafe called Varenna Cafe. We stopped and decided to take a rest and, yes, get some GELATO!! Hands down the best gelato we had the whole trip! We had a mint gelato and a lemon tart and sat outside by the lake. Grace fell in love with the decor inside and we definitely thought it was one of the best little cafes we went to the whole trip
After our little pit stop we continued walking down the trail and hit a Villa called Villa Monastero. There was a picture of this Villa on the maps of the town in the Rick Steve’s book and it looked like it was worth going into. The cost was 5 Euro to enter into the Villa, but it was well worth it! The grounds were kept very nicely and they had a ton of neat looking architecture inside. There’s a huge garden in the Villa and we walked around the whole place exploring and taking a ton of pictures!
We spent around 30 minutes at the Villa and decided to head back to our hotel. There was actually another town to go to Menaggio, but the guide book actually said it was much smaller so we decided to head back to the hotel so that we could lounge by the pool and spend some time on the terraces of the hotel for sunset. Here’s a view from our boat ride back leaving Varenna.
We got back to the hotel and i wanted to go jump in the pool so i changed into my trunks and headed down to the “floating pool”! The pool seemed empty most of the time i saw it and i was wondering why more people were not swimming in it? I found out why! it was FREEZING! i felt like it was like jumping into the lake at Lake Tahoe. I had to do it though so i jumped in and prob stayed in the water for about 5 minutes and hopped right on out to lounge at the beach chairs. Grace fell asleep outside while i read up on Venice (our next stop). (Yes that’s me below doing my laps!)
We then headed back to our room to freshen up and wanted to go check out this place where they were well known for their wine and cheese called Cantina! Was this little secluded wine bar that was up the hill a bit, when we got there we found out that there was also going to be a company event about to start, but they let us sit in anyways. We got this huge spread of meats and ordered a couple glasses of wine they recommended. Was SOOO Good! i dont even like cheese but we finished the whole thing!
We were orginially planning on eating dinner after but wasn’t hungry anymore so we went back to the hotel and got another glass of wine on the terrace to watch the sunset. We still weren’t hungry and since we had the day passes we decided to go back to Bellagio to walk around and perhaps look for another restaurant there to go to for dinner. This time the ferry was actually one that carried cars on it as well, grace thought it was the coolest thing ever to see cars on boats! haha. Since we STILL were not hungry of course the only logical thing to do next was to, GET GELATO! On our way back to our hotel, we were befriended by this little girl, couldnt have been more than 5 or 6. She seemed to really like us, and grace in particular and wanted to hold her hand and sit next to us! Her mom eventually came and pulled her away but she didn’t want to go! haha it was really funny. Her mom asked us where we were from and we told her from the US. She said that her daughter was really interested in our “Eyes” and she did this whole “slant eyes” gesture! hahaha was hilarious! Her mom took her away but she kept on wanting to come back to us. She was a cute little kid, i think back and wish we would have gotten a picture with her!
When we got back to Tremezzo we walked by another Villa that was actually right next to our hotel, Villa Castello. Apparently its a pretty popular site that most people go to, at night though it actually looked pretty spooky! When we got back to the hotel I downloaded all the photos we took so far onto my computer and off we were to sleep!
Grace woke up again at 8AM to go to the gym. I didnt make it this time cause i woke up at 5:30AM and couldnt sleep for hours b/c of the jetlag. We got ready for breakfast around 9:30AM and headed down to eat and then got ready to head over to Venice! We got lunch at the town right below the train stop and then headed back up the hill to the train stop. Turns out that the train was to be delayed 30 mins! This sucked for us b/c we had to get onto another train to get to Venice! Our whole plan has to get changed, luckily our tickets that we bought were adjustable and there was another train leaving from Milan an hour later. We got our tickets swapped and off we went! Bye Bye Como! We’ll Be Back!
Marco BadallaSeptember 6, 2014
Maxine MarcelinoApril 2, 2016
What an entertaining read. I was just wondering, may I know which trains you took going to lake como? And which train are you referring to in order to go to Venice? I’m also planning a trip and was planning to use the Italian Eurail pass. But your train plans seem much more affordable and more convenient.
Hoping to hear from you soon!
D.HUApril 7, 2016
I’m not certain if the trains paths are still the same from when I went, but you should definitely be able to map it out using tickitaly.com. It’s pretty easy to map it out from city to city.. We actually should have gone directly to Venice from Milan instead of going to lake como, b/c you are essentially backtracking! Tons of trains though and overall very easy to plan out.
You can see some general helpful tidbits here http://dhublog.com/ciao-italy-8-cities-in-2-weeks-september-2011/ too!
Enjoy your trip!