With average temperatures in the high seventies and overnight lows in the high fifties, June will be one of your best summer months to visit the Lake Como area of Italy. The crowds of vacationers usually don’t descend until July and August, so you can really enjoy sightseeing and shopping in the towns along its shores.
At the upper end of this package pricing you can stay at the Hotel Bellagio in the town of Bellagio located right where the upside down Y-shaped Lake Como splits off to the east and west. Due to its prime location Bellagio is perhaps the most famous town on the lake. There are no casinos, but all of the lake’s beauty to enjoy as well as the nearby towns of Menaggio and Varenna. Menaggio features ornate villas and Varenna has a popular promenade.
If you end up going the week after the Festival of St. John, you can choose to stay directly on Lake Como at the Hotel Bazzoni et du Lac in the village of Tremezzo. [This is at the lower end of the $2,000 to $2,500 range.] The hotel is conveniently around a half mile to the landing for the Bellagio and Varenna ferries. These ferry routes, by the way, provide the easiest way to maximize your vacation and enjoy the restaurants and sites in the various communities around Lake Como. You can catch express boats, slow boats, and special sightseeing boats with restaurants.
In addition to being near the ferry landings, Hotel Bazzoni et du Lac is only about one-third of a mile from Villa Carlotta, perhaps the most beautiful and historic villa open to the public. Its spectacular Italian gardens are a key attraction. So, if you lack George Clooney’s budget to actually buy a villa on Lake Como visiting this one can give you a little flight of fancy into that realm.
The shores of Lake Como are literally dotted with small villages that are fun to explore. And the dining is specially focused on local cuisine and, of course, fresh fish.
Wherever you stay on Lake Como you’ll want to visit the actual town of Como located at the bottom of the left leg of the lake’s upside down Y shape. The big shopping secret here is silk and silk products sold in boutiques and outlets. This scenic town on the lake produces about 80% of Europe’s silk. It also has a traditional Saturday market.
The oldest part of Como is the medieval walled section, which was made part of the Roman Empire in AD 172. Now, this is mainly a pedestrian area of narrow streets that are great for sightseeing.
You can also stroll along the boardwalk in Como for nice views of the lake and also take a cable car or funicolare up to Brunate for spectacular views. After walking around and soaking up the sites, a popular dining choice in Brunate is the Trattoria del Cacciatore.
If you want to get a great feel for the whole Lake Como area, besides ferrying around it you can rent a car and drive completely around the lake following the path of the ancient Roman road. Taking this route is interesting, because you don’t have to depend on a public transportation schedule and you can stop whenever you want to. Besides, although you aren’t on the Lake you are right beside it the whole way.
You can travel from Milan by bus to any town on Lake Como and, once you are settled in a town, you can also catch a bus to visit other towns around the lake. You can also catch a train from the town of Como on the west over to Lecco and Colico on the eastern side shore.
Because Lake Como is in a mountainous area there are some superb hiking trails that can challenge even the most enthusiastic hiker. The tourist office in most of Lake Como’s towns can provide more information on specific day hikes in their area.
If your idea of enjoying a lake means enjoying a water activity then you will want to stay somewhere on the northern end of the lake where you can rent sailboats, and go wind surfing or kite surfing and take lessons in these sports. Some areas on the lake rent pedal boats and the town of Bellagio has a place to rent kayaks.
Visiting Lake Como has to go on your bucket list, but it probably won’t be one of the “been there done that items”. You’ll want to go back.
For information and travel packages visit: Expedia.com, comoguide.com, and tripadvisor.com, booking.com or destinationeuropeonline.com. For questions and comments regarding “Destinations… All Around Italy” please emmail: allarounditaly@italoamericano. com