Lake Como is one of the most peaceful, serene places I’ve ever visited. This was our first stop on our 4 week honeymoon and we spent 7 days here soaking it all in. There is so much to see and explore in Lake Como, so hopefully this travel guide helps!
Lake Como, despite often being referred to as if it’s one place, is a series of towns along the lake. The most popular/common one being Bellagio. The towns are all connected via ferries (there’s both fast and slow ferries), which is great because it frees you up to be able to easily explore multiple cities. You can stay right in Bellagio and, if you do, I’d recommend the Hotel Belvedere. It’s luxurious and right in the heart of the action.
That said, if you’re going to Lake Como for a relaxing vacation and wanting to really getaway, I’d recommend one of the smaller towns near Bellagio. Alex and I stayed in Varenna and absolutely loved it.
Varenna is also great because it’s only 15 minutes on the fast ferry to Bellagio! It’s an ideal central spot for exploring other Lake Como towns.
There’s a beautiful hotel in Varenna, but I’d actually recommend booking an AirBnb because there are some incredible apartments right on the water. Alex and I stayed in this Varenna apartment, and the views were truly the most incredible thing (just look at the pictures below!) I loved that you could have the floor to ceiling windows open in the bedroom (and living room) and just hear the sound of the waves boats docked right below you drifting into one other. It was so peaceful.
Honestly, every meal we ate in Varenna, Bellagio and Leco (the other town we visited) was amazing! In Bellagio, my favorite restaurant was Bilaccus – authentic Italian food with the perfect “Bellagio” atmosphere. Finish your meal with an Aperol Spritz and just people watch!
We also loved Apertivo wine bar in Bellagio. They’ve got a bunch of set wine tastings you can do, or you can create your own from their selection of 100s of wines.
With all the fancy restaurants we ate it (ex. Royal Gourmet at Hotel Villa Cipressi, which was great); I’ve gotta say my favorite meal in Varenna was this little restaurant right at the ferry dock. It’s family owned and I had some of the best gluten free pasta of my life here. It’s called L’Orso Cafe and I can’t recommend it enough!
In Varenna I also recommend Cafe Varenna for coffee / breakfast. The tables are right at lake level and the views are incredible (again, check out this photo below!)
In general, eat gelato and drink espresso from basically anywhere and you’ll be happy lol. Since Como is known as a ‘weekend destination’ for Italians living in Milan, the desserts and treats are top notch.
Explore the lake! What’s different about Como is that there aren’t the same ‘tourist spots’ as most popular Italian cities. The main thing to do in Lake Como is just wander and enjoy the Lake life. As I mentioned before, ferry hopping between the towns is a great way to experience the different towns, but also get some time on the water.
If you do want specific activities though the ones I would most recommend are:
Villa del Monastero (Varenna): This Italian Villa and gardens is one of the most stunning places. You can do a tour of the villa and can wander the gardens to your heart’s content.
Villa del Balbianello (Lenno): This Italian villa is popular because the filmed scenes from both Casino Royale and Star Wars here. If you’re into Italian architecuture and beautiful gardens this one is a must-see.
Shopping in Bellagio: Bellagio has some amazing shopping – a mix of designer shops and small boutiques carrying locally made goods, especially jewelry and scarves.
Visit a Lido Club: Since Alex and I were heading to both the Amalfi Coast and Santorini, Greece as part of our honeymoon, we decided we had enough upcoming beach time so never went to one of the Lake Como liddo’s. That said, they look amazing and would be a great way to spend a low-key day by the water.
Visit La Fiorida Agriturismo: If you have a car, I highly recommend driving from Lake Como to check out La Fiorida. It was a 25 minute drive from Varenna. La Fiorida is an “agriturismo” which, if you haven’t heard of that, is an Italian thing where operating farms open up bed and breakfasts. It’s honestly kind of a way to compete with Airbnb and keep tourism money right in local hands (which I love). We didn’t stay at La Fiorida (though you totally could) but we did a day trip to check out their spa and restaurant. The restaurant is a Michelin star restaurant, and actually the only restaurant on a farm in all of Europe to have a Michelin star.
The spa is also really cool because they offer a ton of unique treatments including a milk bath with milk from the Cow’s right on the farm and – what Alex and I tried – a wine bath!! Did you even know such a thing existed?! I’ll share a video on my Instagram later that talks more about it, but basically buckets of warm red wine are added to your tub and you get on in! Red wine is said to have anti-aging and purifying properties for the skin. This was such a unique experience that I definitely recommend checking it out!
You can also wander around (or get a tour) of the La Fiorida farm.
And that’s it for my Lake Como travel guide! I hope you found some things you love. Alex and I really did have the best time in Lake Como and I can see why it’s a location that so many celebrities (Oprah, George Clooney) adore.
Our next stop on our Honeymoon was Florence and I have so much to tell you about that, so stay tuned! I have a lot of holiday content I want to share, so it may be a while but I promise the rest of my honeymoon travel guides will be posted eventually!