Updated: Dec 9, 2022
What started off as a two-week honeymoon adventure through Italy and Switzerland, quickly became a slightly condensed but equally amazing honeymoon to Lake Como, Italy and Interlaken, Switzerland. Adulting is tough sometimes. Choosing between a new career and an already booked honeymoon is not ideal. That being said, we did some research and landed on Lake Como as the perfect starting point for our trip.
With Switzerland as our next destination, we were looking for a quick stop in Italy that gave us a little bit of everything. Mountains? Check. Lake? Check. Espresso? Check! Lake Como is located in Northern Italy, about an hour and a half from Milan. It was an easy train ride away from Malpensa Airport in Milan which was exactly what we needed as this was our first time out of the country together.
WHERE TO STAY
Although there are many small towns surrounding Lake Como, the most popular towns to visit are Varenna, Bellagio, Menaggio, and Tremezzo because they have easy access to the ferry. After some research, we decided on Varenna for our stay in Lake Como. Varenna is romantic, quieter, and it's conveniently located near the train station and ferry.
We started to fall in love with Varenna just from our walk from the train station to our vacation rental. I suggest packing light though. Even a small carry on and a back-pack felt heavy in the 100+ degree heatwave. But look at THAT VIEW on the way into town! The beautiful sights did a great job at distracting us from the sweat dripping down our faces.
Since we booked this trip last minute, many of the hotels we were interested in staying at were completely booked during our travel dates. I stumbled upon Varenna Holidays by Molteni Real Estate and we booked La Terrazza di Marta which was right in the heart of Varenna. Honestly, I was a little skeptical at first about booking a vacation rental abroad. Would there be language barriers? Would we be getting what was pictured? Would we even be able to find it in the winding alleyways and streets? Let me tell you... this place did not disappoint! Full kitchen, air conditioning (a must in the summer), washer and dryer, two bathrooms, and an amazing terrace!
HOW TO GET AROUND
If you're staying in one of the main towns, you can easily get by without renting a car. The ferry is a fairly quick and scenic way to get from town to town. We always arrived at the ferry with plenty of time to spare and grabbed a spot on the side to take in all the views. We did not venture to any of the smaller towns, but if you do, you will want to rent a car to get around.
WHERE TO EAT
You can't really go wrong eating in Italy. Everything is fresh and well made. But, here's a few of the places we went during our time in Lake Como.
Cafe Varenna (Varenna) - We ate here on our first night after a long travel day. We ordered pesto pasta and a lemon spritz (both were great!) We liked it so much we came back the next morning! Watch the boats bob up and down with the mountains in the background all while sipping espresso. I'd be there everyday if I could.
Lake Bakery (Varenna) - great for a quick breakfast/pastry on the go. Go there early though, by the afternoon they were pretty much picked over.
La Lanterna (Bellagio) - very charming restaurant and the best pasta we had while in Lake Como. We ordered pesto, bolognese, and a really great tiramisu. Look at the painted glass bottles hanging on the doorway, such a charming spot in busy Bellagio!
La Dolce Vita (Bellagio) - we ordered a little bit of everything and shared our orders. Pizza was great and portions were huge. I also noticed side salads were so much better than back home! It's not the first thing you think to order in Italy, but it was so refreshing on hot days.
WHAT TO DO
I could spend all day wandering around the small streets in Lake Como. There are so many different things to see and do, Lake Como really is for everyone. Whether you are looking for outdoor adventures like boating or hiking, luxury shopping, or fine dining, Lake Como has it.
One of the best experiences we had while we were here was renting a boat at Lake by Boat at the most northern point of Bellagio. The walk there was worth it in itself. Stone alleyways, hidden mansions, and 360 views of the lake. We didn't reserve a boat in advance, so we woke up early and headed out from Varenna on the first ferry of the day to make sure we could snag one that morning.
Let me tell you, there is nothing better than being out on the water during the hottest point of the summer. I was also happily surprised that we pretty much had the lake to ourselves so early in the morning. Italian time is a really thing. The lake didn't fill up until the afternoon, so take advantage of the quiet lull in the morning!
Although each town is fairly small, there are so many hidden streets, alleyways, and harbors to explore in the area. Allow yourself time to get lost! Wander down a path with no direction, agenda, or time schedule to follow. Scalotta per Pescallo was one of my favorite walks in Bellagio. Follow this stone pathway about a mile to a quiet rocky beach to take in the views.
One of our biggest bucket list items for Lake Como was to hike up to Chiesa di San Martino. During the extreme heatwave Europe was experiencing, it was just too hot for a long hike up the mountain. If we went back during the Fall or Spring this would be a must for us. I can't even imagine the incredible views from up there!
HOW MANY DAYS?
With so many different villages to explore and the massive size of the lake, you could easily stay here for a few days without running out of things to do and places to explore.
SEE PHOTOS YOU LOVE?
Head on over to my Society6 page to purchase these photos from my travels.