A car is not a necessity when visiting Lake Como. There is so much on your doorstep that you would never feel bored. However, if you visit Lake Como in Winter, it is a great time to investigate the lesser known villages and towns. Actually, even if you do not bring or hire a car, you will find the bus service up and down the lake is amazing; cheap, comfortable and on schedule. (You can usually buy tickets at a cafe or tobacconist near to your local bus stop. The driver does not take fares.)
I decided to take a drive after lunch and headed north from Menaggio (road SS340dir) with absolutely no idea where I was going. I didn’t care. I just wanted to see places unknown to me and which I had heard were quite rustic. You can see on the map that there are several small towns to head for where you can stop, take a look around, have coffee, and enjoy the scenery. However, I decided to take a road which went towards the mountains. Suddenly, the road became very windy and a bit bumpy in places. There were areas where you could pull in to allow others to overtake. I did stop at one or two, but felt a bit guilty in case other drivers were inconvenienced. The houses on the edge of the roads gave way to small hillside farms and there were (what I would call) “hamlets” every few kilometers. The scenery was spectacular. After a while I reached a point where I felt it was best to turn around and head back to the main road. There had been very few such opportunities to maneuver, so I “borrowed” the drive way of a small house. I had no idea where I had been – but I liked it!
Once back on the main road I decided that I deserved a little snack, so I headed for Domaso and settled down at one of the small cafes for a break. It was only then that I realized I had been rather tense while driving up and down the mountain road. It must have been all those tight bends and sheer drops. It had been an adventure and I had loved it. Now it was time for my refreshments.