Exploring the Golden Triangle is one of the greatest pleasures during a visit to Lake Como. Taking the ferry from one village or town to another, drinking in the view of the mountains, lake and shores, while basking in the sunshine, snapping shots of the scenery, is a true delight. Lake Como’s Golden Triangle comprises four towns: Bellagio, Menaggio, Cadenabbia and Varenna. Each of these towns can be reached by ferry, bus or car (car ferries run between the towns). So much is already written about these places and we will go back to them again, I expect, but for now let us look at their lesser-known neighbours.
The main features of these four towns are their spectacular location in the Golden Triangle, their classic Italian architecture, cobbled streets, waterfront promenades, and of course, their hotels, cafes and restaurants. However, if you look beyond the obvious and explore these pretty towns and the smaller towns and villages nearby, you will appreciate your visit even more.
If you find yourself on the western shore at the Cadenabbia ferry stop there are some lovely waterfront restaurants and cafes in nearby Tremezzo. If you want to treat yourself, go and have lunch at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo. It is beyond delightful! The restaurants Red and White and Azalea, on the promenade Via Portici Sampietro, are also well-worth a visit, both offering a warm, welcoming atmosphere and good food. (Trip Advisor provides reviews of many other local restaurants that I have not eaten at.)
After lunch, if you have a car with you, or good walking shoes, Lenno, just south of Cadenabbia and Tremezzo, is a waterside town with a delightful promenade leading to the Villa Balbianello, sometimes called the “Star Wars Villa” since it featured in ‘Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones’ in 2002. A little further south, is the Isola Comacina, the only island in Lake Como (ferry stop – Sala Comacina). The landscape there is relatively wild and natural with some old ruins, as well as a few fisherman’s cottages, a church and just one restaurant: Locanda dell’Isola Comacina. Nearby, and to the south, Argegno is well-worth a visit; a busy little town with a marina and buzzing cafes and restaurants. This is the perfect place to set out from if you want to take a scenic walk to Switzerland via the Val d’Intelvi. The views of Lake Lugano are said to be spectacular.