i escaped to lake como over the weekend, and it was SUCH a wonderful respite away from the world! :) haha yeah, even on exchange it’s like life just speeds past and i have no idea where time goes sometimes -.- but at lake como, there was finally time to take a deep breath and relax (although there was a lot of running around to catch our trains :p) and just chill :)
this was the gorgeous view from the window of our apartment! :) can see the Alps in the distance!!!
Lake Como can probably be “explored” in a day-trip from milan if you would like to, but we decided to go there for a couple of nights just to rest and relax. and it’s so tranquil, it’s really perfect as a weekend sanctuary :’)
we stayed in this little town called piona, in the larger town called colico, which is near one tip of Lake Como. the lake is huge by the way, wherever you stay around that region, you’ll definitely be able to see and enjoy it :))
My advice: the main attractions are in the town of Como itself though, so for a day trip, i’d definitely recommend that you go directly to the main area of Como itself, because in the outskirts, it is often more difficult to get around if you don’t have a car. if you’re planning to stay a few days and are considering piona/other small towns, DRIVE. or be prepared to walk really long distances.
Also, it’s probably not a good idea to go to Lake Como during this time as we did (during the winter), as transport is not as convenient, and Lake Como looks the best when the weather is good! we had one day of sun here, and the lake looked gorgeous :))) on snowy/foggy days though, the view of the mountains and lake is kinda obstructed.
Getting around Como
The most convenient (and picturesque) way to get around the entire lake would be by ferry. the schedules can be found here: http://www.navlaghi.it/eng/
. in summer (or from spring), the ferry network is much more extensive, and you can go to different regions around the lake. besides Como itself (definitely a MUST visit, obviously! we didn’t get to, which was a terrible waste :( take a funicular – i heard it’s great!), other recommended regions are lenno/tremezzo, bellagio and varenna, just to name a few. in the end, we only made it to varenna, due to transport issues, so here are the places i’d recommend for this area! (:
What to see in Varenna
The Love Path was something we unintentionally chanced upon! actually it’s nothing much, but it’s just really nice to take a slow walk along the edge of the lake and admire the scenery :) the view of the lake never fails to take my breath away! it’s so beautiful :’)
i love all these winding paths and staircases in europe! they’re just so quaint and pretty! just a pain to climb :p
the Medieval city centre of Varenna is nice for a relaxing stroll, along the little cobblestone streets.
please please visit Villa Monastero if you’re in Varenna! (: it’s this lovely villa right next to the lake, with huge gardens to just stroll though. haha okay if you’ve realised, there isn’t much to do here i guess…just a lot of walking around and admiring the lake :) it’s a perfect respite from work though! we didn’t manage to visit the villa as it’s still winter (yeah, just try to avoid this period…probably from march onwards should be better though!) but just looking at it from the outside was so fascinating already!
for a place to chill and watch the world go by, Varenna Caffe is PERFECT for this ^^ a quaint little shop with a tiny door and just a couple of tables, it is cosy, and the staff are pretty nice! they speak quite good english (phew) and are very willing to recommend things for you to try (: i stopped by here for teatime, and had a yummy cup of hot chocolate :D they have lots of books with photographs of Varenna/Como, which are great to browse for ideas of where to visit!
also, just about 1-2km away from Varenna is another pretty town called Fiumelatte, with lots of colourful houses. you can walk there or take the train just one stop down :)
last thing on the list….gelato of course! apparently the best gelato in Colico is at Voglia di Gelato! ^^ it was goooood, try it!
Voglia di Gelato
Via Nazionale 96
and that was the end of my lake como holiday! next one will be torino :D food glorious fooooooood!
Where to stay in Lake Como
prior to coming to Europe, i never heard of Airbnb before. but i’ve since realised that it’s a really good option for accommodation! (: especially for those traveling with somewhat of a budget, staying in an Airbnb apartment gives you the comforts of a hotel room (without the room service haha) at a more affordable price. definitely much better than hostels imo!!!! i hated staying in hostels where we’d usually get woken up in the middle of the night by all those clubbing people -.- staying in Airbnbs allow you to meet people staying in the city itself, which is a wonderful opportunity for you to find out more about the culture of the place, the tourist attractions and get recommendations for food! (: there are so many options on Airbnb from private rooms to whole private apartments that can accommodate 4-6 pax, and prices range from really low rates (definitely comparable to hostels, especially if you are looking for ‘private’ hostel rooms, which i think are completely not worth it at all) to expensive ones (for the really nice accommodations). take your pick! (:
our lake como accommodation was a whole private apartment to ourselves and we absolutely LOVED it. it was definitely our favourite accommodation throughout our whole exchange!! (i’m writing this section after exchange has ended).
it was a gorgeous apartment (pardon our mess hehe :p) that was the PERFECT size for a couple! (: a small living room, with the coziest kitchen, and a nice comfy bedroom with a cute bunk bed. the bottom bunk is pretty big though (between the size of a super single and queen size) and spacious enough for two people to sleep. it was really really nice to stay here! (: i loved cooking in the kicthen, although it got a little dark at night. it had an amazing view too!!! just look out the window and you could see the mountains (the first pic above!). so lovely :’)
the ONLY inconvenience, and i would say that this is a pretty big downside to it, was that it was located in a super ulu location -.- as mentioned above, we were pretty far from the actual touristy main Lake Como area, and it was pretty much a dead town where we were staying. and we were 3km away from that ulu town!!! imagine how out-of-the-way we were x.x hahaha. the hosts of this apartment provide bicycles for your use, but i would really discourage you from using them? unless you’re a really experienced cyclist. because the terrain is really tricky for cycling, and there are LOTS of hilly areas, which makes it completely exhausting to cycle up! we ended up dragging our bikes for 2km on our way back from the town and we were busted by the time we reached home.
so why am i still recommending this place? because the apartment was beautiful (: really. it was so nice to live here! if you are looking for a really relaxing holiday, away from all the crowds and you don’t mind living far from the main lake area (you can still access lake como from here, just that there is not much food/other attractions around), stay here. plus they have a min. 3 nights booking rule, so it’s perfect for a getaway respite (: check it out here: https://www.airbnb.com.sg/rooms/639080 and i do hope you enjoy it as much as i did!