where to stay and what to see
marvellous medieval churches and bell-towers, their elaborate interiors decorated with paintings, frescoes and sculptures. Peruse the many hand-craft shops with local produce out of wood and silk, 80 % of Europe’s silk is made in the Como region. The town of Como, at one time world famous for its silk production, is only 30min away by Hydrofoil.
Activities around the lake include lake bathing, wind-surfing, kayaking, canoeing, water-skiing and sailing. It is possible to hire bicycles and mountain bikes to use on the abundance of cycling trails. Menaggio has an 18-hole golf course. The more adventurous can also take a high speed boat trip or paraglide from one of the mountain tops.
There are walking and hiking trails to suit all levels, for a gentle stroll from Bellegio to Pescallo and Loppia use the paths that cross over the ridge. More taxing options explore the area up and behind Tremezzo, try the climb up to the church of San Martino for great views of Bellagio and beyond. Another recommendation is hiking above Menaggio, around Monte Grona.
Lake Como’s idyllic lakeside villas have always drawn the rich and famous. They stand as reminders of a more glamorous time and are one of Lakes Como’s main attractions. The 17th century Villa Carlotta near Tremezzo has 4 acres of botantical gardens and should not be missed. Near Lenno you find the Impressive 18th century Villa Balbianello with its beautiful gardens and lake views. It was used as Mr White’s lair in Casino Royale. In Bellagio you can visit the Villas Melzi and Serbelloni.
Celebrities, who do or have owned properties here, include Madonna, Gianni Versace, Richard Branson and famously George Clooney. You can see more of the villas on any number of tours and by hiring a boat you can catch glimpses of the elegant facades particularly heading south from Menaggio.
Most holidays have their accommodation in one of the following towns, around the intersection of the three branches of the lake. Cadenabbia, Tremezzo, Lenno and Menaggio lie together on the western shore of Lake Como, all with the lovely view of Bellegio across the lake.
Furthest north on the western shore is the cosmopolitan Menaggio, a little town full of character with a central piazza surrounded by shops, restaurants and bars. The towns Cadenabbia and Tremezzo with their pavement cafes and bars are within walking distance of each other, with the Villa Carlotta botanical gardens lying between them. Just a bit south of Tremezzo is the interesting historic village of Lenno, with its pretty harbour and weekly market. Across the water in the most spectular location is Bellagio, with charming little cobbled streets that wind up behind the village. The most vibrant of the resorts you can wander around Bellagio and look at the artisan shops before settling down for a Spritz to enjoy the views, perhaps at one of George Clooney’s local haunts.
There are frequent ferry connections across and down the length of Lake Como. From Como, reachable by bus, there is a regular rail service to Milan. Guests staying in Bellagio need to take the ferry for transfers and will need to transport their own luggage.