What: Der Elefant - the Elephant, Restaurant Where: Warsaw, Poland…
A perfect day at Lake Como
What: My personal tips for sightseeing and more
Where: Lake Como, Italy
From the Upper Italian lakes at the southern edge of the Alps, Lake Como is the most beautiful to me. Nestled in an impressive mountain landscape and lush, Mediterranean fauna, Lake Como fascinates with its famous historic villas such as Villa Carlotta and Villa d’Este. They come partly from the 15th century and bear witness to the successful era when the silk industry settled in the region around Como. Around the lake, picturesque villages charm the visitor, here the time seems to have stopped. Pure romance and a charm that also attracts Hollywood: celebrities such as George Clooney, Madonna, Brad Pitt or Donatella Versace have their own holiday residences here.
My tour starts by the southern shore of Lake Como with a stroll through the old town of Como. In the Via Vittorio Emanuele II and the Via Indipendenza you will find numerous boutiques with Italian fashion. I walk through the narrow streets until I stand in front of the Como Cathedral, the third-largest cathedral in Lombardy. If you would like to have a view on the splendid cathedral facade, this is best done with an espresso in a Piazza Cavour café opposite the Cathedral.
The next stop along the west bank is called Cernobbio. A must for fans of the art nouveau is a trip to the Villa Bernasconi, a jewel of the Belle Epoque, where today’s exhibitions are shown. Famous is Cernobbio also because of the Villa d’Este, since 1873 a hotel of the luxury class, which was already visited by lot of celebrities. Just because of the garden and the temple, decorated with colorful pebbles mosaic, it is a worthwhile visit. If you are not willing to pay thousands of euros a night in the summer season, perhaps you can enjoy a Bellini at the lake terrace for 23 euros, enjoying the extravagant atmosphere and the sensational view of the turquoise water.
We continue northwards to Menaggio. Here the ferry leaves for Varenna and Bellagio, in the summer every 40 minutes. (One car with two persons costs 15.50 euro). Passing the imposing villas, you can reach Bellagio, probably the most famous village on Lake Como, after a 15-minute passage. So famous that even the most popular hotel in Las Vegas is named after it. From the water you can see the elegant, pale yellow facade of Villa Serbelloni, a grand hotel with a beautiful park and a fantastic view of the lake.
I decide to have lunch on and enjoy a glass of rosé, buffalo mozzarella and Parma ham. That’s what Dolce Vita tastes like! Strengthened I now stroll through the Via Guiseppe Garibaldi, explore the winding streets on a hillside and admire the always surprising views of the Lago di Como. From Bellagio I take the SS538 road back to Como. The approx. two-hour route lures again and again with numerous viewpoints: stop, look, marvel. BvH
Lake Como tip I:
Want to see Lake Como from above? Then go to the small mountain village of Madrona at Monte Bisbone (1,328 meters high) on the west bank above Cernobbio. The course, popular with hikers and bikers, is rewarded with a breathtaking view over Lake Como and – on weekends – with homemade pasta in the Baita Alpe restaurant.
June to September are the best months for wind and kite surfing. The mountain world around Lake Como is also a paradise for hikers and mountain bikers.
Caution, penalty card: In Bellagio the car is best at the edge of the city. Parking in the center is expensive. I was asked to pay 140 euros for wrong parking.
Good to know:
Como Lake (in Italian Lago di Como) is one of the eight Upper Italian lakes. “Lario” – as the locals call it – is 146 km², 55 km long and max. 4.2 km wide. Thus, after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore, it is the third-largest lake in Italy. In the center, near the town of Bellagio, the lake divides in a southerly direction into two arms, each ending in the towns of Lecco and Como. The lake looks like a twisted Ypsilon. It is up to 410 meters deep, making it one of the deepest lakes in Europe.
Go swimming in Lake Como:
The luxury hotels around the lake have their own jetties from where you can jump into the green blue water. More tips for public beaches and hidden places can be found here: www.comersee-info.net