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Italy Trip Report : Lake Como

Posted on August 3rd, 2006 filed in Travelogues    |   

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Lake Como, the must see destination for everyone visiting Italy, is a charming, picturesque, and romantic glacial lake nestled in the Italian Alps in close proximity to the Swiss border.

Lake Como is shaped like the greek letter lambda (reverse Y). Its three branches (Como Branch, Letto Branch, and Upper Lake) can be reached via the efficient (yet very expensive) ferry service operating around the clock from early morning till shortly after midnight. The main destinations on lake Como include Como, Bellagio, Menaggio, and Tremezzo.

Best place to stay is somewhere at the strip extending from Menaggio to Tremezzo. The Excelsior offers a great value with a very rich, hearty and varied buffet breakfast (including eggs, fresh fruit, hot plates, tons of cheeses, and juices), clean and spacious rooms, fabulous views of the lake and the opposing Dolomite mountains, and a reasonable price of around 150 euros per night. It also sports a great location within walking distance to the Bellagio ferry dock as well as the stupendous Villa Carlotta. Nearby is a post office with internet access and even a place to hire electric bicycles (These are not yet ready for prime time as they can only go for 1 hour without recharge). The hotel also offers free parking, and that’s a real find on Lake Como.

City Of Como: At the southern tip of the Como branch is the city of Como, a lovely town bustling with tourists and life. It is filled with piazzas and is studded with street cafes and a splendid water view. A full day itnerary would include two hours on the water (boat rentals are abundant) then lunch at the waterfront then a round trip up the funiculare (train ascending a mountain) for desert at Brunate while looking down at the superb view of Lake Como. A jacket is needed due to the serious drop in temperature up.

At the center of the town, the gypsie market offers a side of Como that is quite distant from the lavishness and resort style the Lake is famous for. Safety and taking precautions to prevent car break in and theft are essential. It is however a colorful market and is worth a visit.

At the Center of the lake is the tiny village of Bellagio, a hub for the rich and famous (It is reported that George Clooney owns a villa there and Tom Cruise will have his upcoming nuptials there) and the place to see and be seen. The village is comprised of a plethora of cobblestone streets and tiny houses and as is typical in that part of Europe, a labyrinth of stairs and tiny paths, the italian version of residential streets.

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2 Responses to “Italy Trip Report : Lake Como”

  1. Sally Says:

    I went to Como this summer and to be honest, I loved it. It is funny coincidence that you mention the Excelsior hotel…We stayed there it was lovely….There was a huge group of tourist of all agers there and there were having a party every night at the lobby (it is a huge lobby with terraces and restaurants), people just did not feel the need to leave the hotel at night. The rooms were very spacious and comfortable too and the breakfast buffet one of the best I have had in Europe.

    And did you see Villa Carlotta? It is so picturesque! The garden, the fountain, the inside of the rooms, the ceilings, the paintings, the sculpture, I loved the painting of ‘Kiss’ and the sculpture of the angel ….you really have to go and visit if you happen to be in Como…really worth it

  2. Loreena Says:

    I have been to Como too last summer, and your descrption gives it justice! It is very Italian, very charming, full of life. Pedestrians, cyclists as well as motorists have to struggle to fit in on the narrow streets of Como, I swear I had a scare, thinking my husband was going to run over a couple of zooming by cyclists in a street so narrow, you would doubt a car would safely pass.
    We spent a couple of evening in Bellagio, it was packed, restaurants were so delicious but be aware finding parking space is really really impossible, so take the ferry and simply walk it is fairly small with stairs between houses and beautiful restaurants and tourists area at the water…..
    By the way, George Clooney does own a villa there…ah, how I long to become his neighbor!

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