Over a sumptuous breakfast on the terrace of the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Mum and I gazed out at the majesty of Lake Como and started to plan our day. Day 1 should not be too ambitious, but where to begin? The floating swimming pool looked very inviting, and then there was a beautiful swimming pool in the gardens of the hotel amongst the tropical finery. But no, to make the most of this experience we needed to start with a reconnaissance of the area. After all, we didn’t want to miss anything!
Our good friend Google had provided information about the ferry service which runs (like absolute clockwork) to all the main points of the lake. We found that a daily ticket was what we needed to ensure the best possible exposure to our surroundings. And we couldn’t have chosen a better way to spend the day.
The ferry took us from Cadenabbia, just beside our hotel, to Bellagio which is reputed to be one of the most beautiful towns in Italy. The first leg of our trip was a bit confusing. We didn’t know where to look. Once on the water there was a “not to be missed” view in every direction. And approaching Bellagio with the imposing waterfront villas and earthy spectrum of colours, was mesmerizing. Our first port of call was an exciting experience as we investigated the cobbled alleys, classy shops and tempting cafes. How could we resist an early coffee break? Sadly, we couldn’t sample the goodies on offer in the cafe – our fully comprehensive breakfast had taken care of that.
From Bellagio to Varenna is just a short ferry ride but oh so relaxing. It was nice to sit in the sun and feel the breeze before embarking on, or perhaps I should say disembarking for, the next part of our tour. Varenna is very picturesque and less touristy that Bellagio; less famous I suppose. Nevertheless it is a lovely place; a “fishing village”, which has the most exquisite lakeside walk with overhanging plants and a tiny tunnel or archway. You have to experience it to fully appreciate it but it is shown in one of the pictures above. Waterfront space is limited but they make the best of it with small cafes and restaurants and, naturally, shops and gelateria. Varenna is well worth a visit and I have been back many times since.
From Varenna we went on to discover Menaggio – and had more ice cream and coffee – and then a further hop to Lenno. Both found a special place in our hearts and have become firm favourites. We returned to the hotel with a pretty good idea of what we wanted to do for the next few days; revisit all these gems, plus we simply had to take the boat down to Como city, and of course the hotel pools were still calling out to us. Bliss!
By the way, if you have ever had second thoughts about using public transport while on holiday, please dismiss them from your mind when visiting Lake Como. The connections are excellent, timings precise, and prices very reasonable. Plus the feeling of being completely relaxed and free to enjoy your surroundings is a bonus we easily overlook when travelling.