Lake Como is the third largest and one of the most beautiful lakes in Italy - situated between Milan and Switzerland, and primarily served by Milan airport for international arrivals. From here, you can reach Como, the main town of the lake, by taking the Malpensa Express Train to Saronna and then transferring to train Le Nord towards Como. It is also accessible via the Milan to Switzerland line, stopping in the town of Como. Upon arrival, it may be a wise idea to hire a car, otherwise efficient ferry and bus services link the major villages and towns surrounding the lake.
It is an area of splendid contrasts. You can have the Mediterranean sun beating down on you, yet still see snow on top of the mountains surrounding the lake. It has an astonishing natural landscape, yet still boasts fascinating man-made landmarks. It is one of the oldest tourist destinations in Italy, yet continues to draw in the most modern of guests. After all, the recent James Bond film, Casino Royale, was filmed here…
Let’s begin on the first tee, with one of Europe’s most ancient golf courses, the Menaggio & Cadenabbia Golf Club. On 10th January 1907, four regular British tourists to the region met at Menaggio’s Hotel Victoria to transform a shared passion for the game of golf into a course. And so today it is 5,773 yards of old England, in the midst of the breathtaking surroundings of this Italian landscape. For golfers, this really is what it’s all about. It is a challenging yet fair test of golf, where straight hitting and sensible club selection are the keys to success. The typically English style continues off the course, with a clubhouse library that is considered the most celebrated of its type in the world, and local eateries where you won’t see pictures of the Milan football teams lifting European trophies, but of the Italian golfing legend, Constantino Rocca, playing in the Ryder Cup.
Or perhaps you would prefer to walk in Menaggio without a 9 iron in your hand, but a hiking pole. Hiking up Monte Grona is a very popular activity among tourists. Make no mistake about it, it is challenging, it is harsh, it is at times even dangerous, but you can be assured that it is beautiful. Greg Child once commented that "Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb", in the case of Monte Grona, you’ll discover that it is the views where it is said you can see as far as Milan on a clear day. You can visit Gelateria Edo upon return to the town, with a wide range of delicious home-made ice creams on offer.
Menaggio may be the ideal Italian experience for hikers, golf enthusiasts and ice cream lovers, but the town of Mandello del Lario in the Province of Lecco is a great place for Motorcycle fans. The Moto Guzzi Museum is a unique opportunity to look at hundreds of exciting motorcycles, made even more interesting if you book a guided tour beforehand. Get there for 3 in the afternoon and spend an hour, free of charge, enjoying this outstanding display of motorcycle design, engineering and culture.
Why not visit Castello di Vezio in Varenna? Exploring this ancient monument which has the art of falconry on display in the backdrop of pretty hills and stunning views of the lake is an absolute must. Birds include barn owls, buzzards, hawks and many more. As you walk around the castle, you can just appreciate what a formidable military fortress this must have once been centuries ago, and then the thousands of beautiful flowers in the castle garden remind you once again how special this region is today.
The town of Como is the heart of this region. The best way to explore is to walk along the Greenway del Lago di Como, a clearly sign-posted 10km walk along the waterfront of the town. It really is a great rural adventure, taking you through delightful villages and wonderful sights, from the historical centre of Colonno to major attractions of the region such as Tremezzo’s Villa Carlotta and Como’s Villa Balbianello. Or perhaps you may have had enough walking for one holiday, and wish to visit Como’s Silk Museum. This tribute to Como’s long history of being at the centre of the European silk industry is an obvious treat for those with any interest in textiles, yet equally enjoyable for others simply seeking to explore the culture of a fascinating region, with highly knowledgeable guides taking you through this well laid-out display.
With its top quality bars and restaurants Bellagio is the ideal location for those relaxing evenings with family and friends. Ristorante Salice Blu, restaurant of the highly acclaimed chef Luigi Gandola, provides outstanding Italian cuisine at surprisingly affordable prices. It offers a range of delicacies such as the Mediterranean Sea Fruit Salad, and outstanding seafood dishes like a Wild Sea Bass Fillet. Or if you visit Apertivo et al Bar, make sure you’re not driving, as this place may be tricky to leave. Widely praised for its warm ambiance and classic range of wines, cocktails, beers and spirits, this is the perfect opportunity to put your feet up after a day exploring the wonders of this region. The wide selections of olives, pastas and cheese portions aren’t bad either.
The list of things to do here is endless, something impressive for a region that already boasts natural beauty and charm. From the Silk Museum in Como to golf in Menaggio, a holiday in Lake Como is an opportunity to make your Italian experience more personal and memorable than ever.
To view a selection of villa in Lake Como, please follow the link or see a sample below.
Lake Como luxury villa - This stately villa with heated pool and air conditioning sits majestically on the shores of Lake Como, near the village of Limonta in the heart of the 'Oliveto Lario', just a short distance from the well known town of Bellagio.
Bellagio luxury villa with swimming pool - This is a charming property with private heated pool that opened for the first time in mid 2008, with a stunning location overlooking lake Como and the town of Bellagio.