Lake Como famous for stunning lakeside villas, yachts and sunshine. Also, George Clooney apparently, not that we saw him.
We arrived late in the evening hoping to scope out a sneaky free spot, alas every road was walled either side so no joy from our google map pins. We came across a free overnight car park so pulled in and caught a good restful sleep. That was until about 4am when around us a hive of activity pulled us from our slumber. It was only the local bloody market setting up. Seeing as it wasn’t the police and we didn’t need to move we got a couple of hours more shut eye before cycling over to Como itself. Winding past huge villas and watching the sun glisten in the morning sun we headed towards a little local coffee spot called Instant. People must get up early in these parts of Italy because it was full to the brim, so instead, we took to wandering around the streets in search of somewhere else. We settled on this super cool cycling cafe before exploring the local area.
We eventually made our way over the funicular which as we all know means it will be super fun. We hopped up thinking the views would be breath-taking from the top. What I hadn’t expected on was the steel walk to get to the lighthouse. We could have got the shuttle bus, but we all know how tight me, and josh are, so we hiked uphill for around 2km. When we got to the top it wasn’t as I’d expected, I was quite confused as there wasn’t anyone there and the signs just sort of stopped. We eventually came across the lighthouse after clambering through a fence and up a wall. Yeah, we definitely went the wrong way didn’t we. The lighthouse wasn’t particularly exciting but the views over the lake were breath-taking. It was definitely worth the hike up.
When in Italy it would be rude not to indulge in pizza right? So, we took to the local student haunt to pick up a few slices. It was a little takeaway, so we grabbed our slices and sat in the beautiful sunshine watching the local performers practice. We felt we had fully explored Como itself so wanted to visit another little area. We drove around the lake’s edge arriving outside Varenna. Our space was literally on the water’s edge it was perfect, this is what wild camping is all about, the most beautiful sunset flooded through our window and as the stars came out, we dozed peacefully.
The next day we wanted to explore the lake itself, so we parked outside Varenna train station and walked into town to hop on the ferry. Looking online you can do private or small group boat trips, but they were a bit out of budget for us so instead we decided to take the central loop ferry to hop between Verenna, Bellagio and Menaggio. We actually ended up missing the first ferry as Captain clueless didn’t let anyone on the boat, thankfully they come regularly, and we weren’t in a rush. I felt like I was in a daze the whole time, a romantic happy warm daze just appreciating how fabulous the lake was.
First stop was Bellagio where we had a coffee under a beautiful canopy of greenery and looked out over the lake. It was expensive I won’t lie but with it being so touristy we weren’t surprised. Needless to say, we didn’t buy any of the souvenirs. The streets were completely different to Como as they wound up and down stairs and it was almost stacked on top of one another. It was fun exploring high between residential houses and then dipping low along the water’s edge.
As we stepped off Menaggio I had the feeling of grandeur, the space was more open and opulent as five-star hotels peppered the landscape and water’s edge. We walked along the lake and found a little market, so many beautiful items I desperately wanted, if only I had a house not a van! Tucked back off the main street were tiny restaurants packed with people, we pulled up a seat at one and had delicious food before soaking up some sun in a nearby luxury hotel sipping yet another coffee. Well it is the cheapest drink in Italy.
We had accidentally left the best stop until last. Varenna was stunning, a wonderful surprise. A muddle of buildings stacked un-orderly along the edge and up the Cliffside. If I were to go back to Como that is where I would want to stay. Little alleyways sneaking down to the water stealing light under archways and stone staircases leading up to cobbled squares. There was the most beautiful area in front of a cafe and as fate would have it, we snapped up the perfect seat. White painted cast iron ornate chairs and tables surrounded us as we sipped divine cocktails and enjoyed our last moments at Lake Como before heading back onto the road.