Como is really a city steeped in history and culture and its surroundings neighbours will support this. Fantastic villas and buildings abound. All accessible from the lake side routes.
The lakeside is the place everyone wants to be. The restaurants and hotels all have a special ambience that cannot be described, just experienced. The following are just a few of towns that can be explored by ferry, bus or car. They all have a special place in the Lake Como, or Lago di Como experience…..
The West Shore Como to Isola Comacina
The first port of call by ferry, literally a few minutes away is Cernobbio. This is the home of the Villa D’Este, the world famous hotel, that has been the retreat of stars over the years. The other main historic Villa is Villa Erba which is now an international conference centre. Monte Bisbino dominates the skyline and links to the Swiss border. A road can be taken to the top but is very steep and winding. Take a coffee in the Piazza or an aperitif at Harry’s bar!
This medieval born village has cobbled streets, very narrow and winding between old buildings many with balconies. Tradition has it that the war memorial of a man throwing stones is to commemorate a battle in Libya in 1910 when a battalion ran out of ammunition and used stones instead!
The next town along the water route is Argegno, from which the Swiss border can be reached by walking through the Val d’Intelve, a valley that rised to over 1000 metres which has spectacular views across the neighbouring Lake Lugano.
North of Argegno is the famous Isola Comacina, the only island in Lake Como. The ferry stop at Sala Comacina is opposite the island. Not like the beautifully manicured gardens of the Lakeside Villas, this Island is a little wild, uninhabited except for some artists. It has several ruins of long disused churches and has been historically used as a safe refuge for wealthy Italians in times of strife. The main attraction however is the exclusive and only restaurant “Locanda dell Isola Comacina”, famous for their flambeed liquers!
The East Shore – Como to Bellagio
Whereas the west shore has more of a terraced appearance with less imposing water fronts, the East shore is more cliffs. The ferry services are not as regular and do not stop at all points.
4.5 miles up the North east side of the lake is Torno. This medieval village has the usual attractive collection of ancient buildings including the sixteenth century Villa Pliniana and the church of San Giovanni.
Nesso is the beginning of a narrow, windy and steep road up to the mountains. It is up this way that the mouth of the Tuf and Nose water courses run…. Nesso is approximately 6km further on that Nesso.
Another 10km along is Bellagio, buit before arriving there, you will encounter several small villages, or clusters of houses tucked into the hillside. Directly opposite Isola di Comacina is Lezenno about 6 km before Bellagio. This is a ferry stop for both the East shore and Isola di Comacina.
Bellagio, often considered to be one of the most beautiful towns in Italy, lies at the apex of Triangolo Lariano, the land mass between Como and Lecco. With cobbled streets, a spectacular location, oleanders that ornament the streets and promenade, Bellagio is not a place to miss. Ferries frequent Bellagio arrving from Tremezzo, Menaggio, Varenna and Cadenabbia. Buses also run, which takes up to an hour from either Lecco or Como, but the roads are narrow and dangerous. Car ferries and hydrofoils also dock at Bellagio.
Some people say that Varenna is even more beautiful than Bellagio. Halfway up the Eastern shore this town is a cool spot in the heat of summer with overhanging trees and foliage. Almost devoid of the usual tourist offerings, it does have waterside cafes, with the town located up steep and narrow alleys.
Eating, Drinking and Hotels
There are lots of restaurants around the Lake. These change in shape, size, ownership and menus. We would love to here from you about any restaurants you have visited and recommend, so pleade visit our Como Chat Forum or visit our restaurants page for our most recent offerings: Lake Como Restaurants