When I used to research “Travel Guide to Lake Como” everything I saw always seemed too good to be true. So honestly before I went there, I was a little skeptical that it wouldn’t live up to the hype! I can confidently say I was totally wrong. This place is so breathtakingly beautiful and the way of life when you’re there is calm, relaxing and stress free. While you could easily spend a lot of time in Lake Como, I think that 48 hours is a great start and you’re able to see quite a bit in that time frame!
When traveling to Lake Como you have a few options for how to get there. The most common is flying into Milan and then either taking a car, train or bus to your final destination. While taking the train or bus is definitely cheaper, it can add hours on to your travel time. Since we only spent a few days in Lake Como, our time was valuable and we opted to pay a little extra for a private transfer from the Milan Airport to Varenna. I’ve used City Airport Taxis in Italy quite a few times! They have great rates and they are reliable.
Check in to your Airbnb or Hotel. We stayed in the cutest airbnb in Varenna and we loved staying in this town. Before our trip we did a lot of research on what area to stay in, and Varenna came highly recommended. This is a great town to stay in if you are going the Airbnb route. Additionally, you will find a couple of nice hotels in Varenna. Furthermore, we stopped at a few 5-star hotels in other towns during our stay that were fantastic. While they are definitely a splurge, I feel as though they’d be well worth it.
After you’ve checked into your accommodations, grab a coffee and croissant at Café Varenna and then visit the Botanical Gardens at Villa Monastero in Varenna. Tickets to see the house and gardens are only 8 euro a piece. The views of the lake and walking amongst the tropical, lush plants is definitely a great photo op!
After your time in Varenna, take the quick ferry ride over to Menaggio for an afternoon bite to eat and to explore this little town across the lake. Menaggio has a great town center with tons of cute shops, restaurants and wine bars. A great thing to note about Menaggio is that the town center is flat and easily walkable, great to keep in mind if you have a stroller or people with reduced mobility. We popped into Grand Hotel Menaggio for a quick bite to eat and a glass of wine.
If you feel like swimming while in Menaggio, they even have a great public beach Lido di Menaggio. For history enthusiasts, a visit to the 16th-century San Stefano Church is a fun activity.
After you’ve explored Menaggio, head back to Varenna for Aperitvo hour. Hotel du Lac has a cute and more quiet courtyard with lake views to grab a drink. There is also the more busy and famous Bar II Molo. For dinner, Ristorante Osteria Quatro Pass serves delicious Northern Italian cuisine in a cozy setting. For a view check out Ristorante Visteria and for great classic italian food check out the Ristorante at The Royal Victoria Hotel.
Good morning! Head to Tremezzo and explore this quaint little town across the lake. Explore the stunning Villa Carlotta and its renowned botanical gardens, where exotic plants and stunning sculptures create a mesmerizing ambiance. For an espresso, meal or drink, head over to the Grand Hotel Tremezzo. This 5-star luxury hotel is pricy, but worth the visit for exceptional service and cuisine.
For those seeking relaxation, the Lido di Tremezzo offers a serene spot to bask in the sun and take a refreshing dip in the lake’s crystal-clear waters.
From Tremezzo, take the ferry to Bellagio. Bellagio, often referred to as the “Pearl of Lake Como,” is a captivating destination that offers a delightful array of dining options and engaging activities. Immerse yourself in the town’s beauty by exploring its charming cobbled streets, picturesque squares, and boutique shops. A visit to the historic Villa Melzi with its lush gardens and neoclassical architecture is a must for those seeking cultural enrichment. Adventure seekers can embark on a hike up to the Punta Spartivento viewpoint, which offers panoramic vistas of the lake and surrounding mountains.
In Bellagio, there are multiple taxi boat companies you can book a boat cruise with. This experience is more of a splurge, however it’s worth it for a different way to explore more of the lake! We did ours with Filippo of Barindelli Taxi Boat. He was docked right near the ferry stop in Bellagio. He was an excellent guide and we had fun with him! It was $300 for one hour.
After your golden hour boat ride, stay in Bellagio for dinner. Since this is one of the more popular towns in Lake Como, there are no shortage of great restaurants. For delicious food and drinks with a view, check out the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni. Additionally, Ristorante di Loppia is another charming spot with local cuisine.
As you can see, in this 48 hour travel guide to Lake Como you are able to explore many of the enchanting towns of Lake Como and create memorable experiences. While there is even more to this magical place than what’s in this post, it gives us the excuse to go back! For more Italian travel guides, check out The Ultimate Travel Guide to Taormina, Sicily and The Perfect 10 Day Itinerary for Florence and Tuscany.
Outfits from my trip to Lake Como are linked below on LTK.