Having been in the city for a few days now we decided to take the train to Lake Como. We had originally thought about just going to Como itself but some quick internet searches came up with the idea to head to a multicoloured terraced town called “Varenna” and then take the ferry over to Bellagio, a stunning town in the middle of the lake… so off we went for what turned out to be an unbelievably beautiful day!
Lake Como, Varenna and Bellagio
If you ever get the chance to visit lake Como then grab it, even after our adventures in the Swiss Alps this is one of the most picturesque place we have ever been. It is almost too much for words, traditional houses, narrow cobbled streets, steep back alleyways with the deep blue waters lapping at the bottom. around every corner of these towns is another picture postcard view!
Arriving in Varenna we were instantly blown away, even on the hour long train ride from Milan the view was so distracting I could hardly look down to write my journal! Varenna is quite small so we decided to head over to Bellagio and explore Varenna whilst we waited for our train later on.
The ferry over to Bellagio runs really quite frequently and if you need to you can even take cars or bikes over too. The cost 9 Euros each for a return which is really not that bad at all. The ride over is nothing short of spectacular, to get out and onto the lake really gives you a 360 perspective of the amazing mountainous scenery that surrounds you. You can even see out to some snow capped peaks in the distance. I would love to spend more time around here and explore the mountains in more detail.
Once in Bellagio you can tell this place just oozes class. It feels a million miles away from the sticky subways of Milan, the graffitied trains and wide streets. Here it is full of grand old hotels lining the cliff sides, restaurants on the waters edge and a maze of steep passages full of boutique shops. After wandering the streets for a little while we happened upon a bike rental place, what a perfect way to explore this area further!
Riding around Lake Como
Renting the bike out was quite and simple, the shop is located just across from the ferry station up a narrow passage a few meters. The woman was nice and friendly and even told us we could pay on our return as we had no cash on us.
Biking around the lake isn’t quite as simple as we thought however, rather than a path that circles it as we expected there is a series of roads that are set back just a touch. The view from up here is still nothing short of spectacular but instead of just a peaceful lakeside track there is traffic to be wary of…especially as we needed to get on the other side of the road to what we are used to and also bear in mind the front brake is reversed too!!
Riding around the lake isn’t just a stroll in the park either, this place is full of hills and we managed to give ourselves a good work out too as well as finding some lovely little hidden spots along the way. It was nice to see locals out and sitting by the lake in places not full of tourists like back in the main towns. Little churches, docks with boats bobbing up and down and traditional wooden housing by the crystal clear rivers feeding the lake.
I know a couple who rented out a motorbike and spend a fortnight riding around this majestic lake and I can see why. There are so many little villages, towns, lagoons and secret spots to explore along its edges. So much to take in and so many angles to view its beauty. This is a place we will certainly revisit and spend more time in further down the track, and one I would love my parents to see as I know they would fall in love with it.
13 EUR – Train to Verenna from Milan, return (bought in station on the day)
9 EUR return – Ferry
25 EUR Bike hire (for 2, 20 for one)
How to get there from Milan:
Take the train bound for Tirana and buy a ticket from the machines in the basement of the “Centrale station” to Verenna.
Be aware of the guys who hang around the ticket machines offering help, they are out to get you to pay for that help or worst still pickpocket you. Keep your wits about you, bag close and figure out the machine for yourself.
From Verenna follow the signs for the ferry port and buy a ticket for Bellagio from the large kiosk. The ferry runs around every half an hour or so from just outside of the ticket office!
Have you every visited Como or the northern lakes of Italy?
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More from our adventures on our RTW trip:
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