If you want to experience true beauty and relaxation while you are planning a trip to Italy, I highly suggest adding Lake Como to the top of your list. Lake Como is just a short train escape from the busy Milano streets and it will truly take your breath away.
Once you get to the train station in Como, you can either stay right there in the city, or you can visit one of the mid lake cities; Menaggio, Bellagio, Varenna, and Cadenabbia. I happened to stay in Bellagio during my visit and it was certainly one for the books.
To get to Bellagio I took the ferry, but you can also take a boat taxi. The boat taxis are rather pricey, but it is a pretty cool experience. They can run you around 50 euros. Along your boat ride you will come across countless amounts of villas owned by celebrities and aristocrats. Lake Como is not your average tourist destination, it is also a place where the local Italianos escape to.
The most famous villas in Lake Como are Villa de Este (which is now a luxurious hotel), Villa del Balbianello (pictured here. Unreal, right?), Villa Serbelloni (luxurious hotel in Bellagio), Villa Carlotta and Villa Melzi d’Eril. Schedule a tour of the Villa del Balbianello, or if you are lucky, get invited to a wedding at this ultra luxe place, oh wait that is what I was able to do!
Touchdown Bellagio and no there were no cheesy fountains with synchronized music playing. It was a charming, colorful and an overall clean town. The locals were very kind and proud of their gorgeous city. Along the main part of town you will find cute shops and pretty linen and silk shops. They are known for their silk ties and scarves, so make sure to pick some up for your loved ones back home.
So what was the whole point of this escape to Lake Como? My best friend got married and I was so lucky to be a part of the fabulous bridal party at the Villa del Balbianello. She was truly a spectacle and was the complete opposite of a bridezilla. She truly treated everyone of her bridesmaids with so much love and respect. Both her and her new husband constantly thanked people for making the trek to Como for the wedding. But to be honest, as a friend, it was just an honor to be by her side for this special day. Besides, I never need an excuse for a Europe trip!
We partied for the 2-3 nights leading up to the wedding with all of our friends at this semi shady club. One of the nights they had a foam party. Let’s just say the boys really enjoyed that night with all of the bella Italiano ladies who were also on holiday. One of the nights we partied at this place, we ended up having to take the club shuttle back to our place after midnight. Now why did we have to take a shuttle and not a taxi? Because this adorable city shuts down at midnight. Which means, you cannot get a taxi driver after midnight! So the club shuttles everyone back to their homes and hotels. On this special night we realized we lost our key to our bed and breakfast. We called the hotel owner before midnight, knowing they would not be available by the time we showed up and we asked for them to leave us a key. Let’s just say, we could not find the key they left us and we placed two benches together on the patio and slept under the stars. Sounds romantic right? Well we froze our tooshes off, but at least we used body heat to try to warm ourselves up. We laughed, I cried, and laughed and somehow after 45 minutes of sleep I got myself together and went to the rehearsal walk through. Now I look back and laugh so hard that I slept on a bench in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Hope you enjoyed that story! As for my friends wedding, it was breathtaking. Every detail was so divine and it was hands down the most incredible wedding I have been to in my whole life. I do not want to share every detail about the wedding because that is her private special day with her husband, family and closest friends. But let’s just say, it was right out of a fairytale!
Now to the good stuff of my #journeywithjavvy posts. Where to stay and eat in Lake Como?
Villa Serbelloni - right on the lake and it has a diving board right into the lake!
Villa de Este- right on the lake. This place is super special!
Hotel Silvio- Right on the lake and very close to this club I mentioned that we danced at all night long!
Ristorante Bilacus- everything is so delicious here! The pasta and the fish were just incredible. Do not even get me started on the desserts. Get a seat out on the gorgeous patio. I bet you if you showed the owner my picture he would remember me. I ate at his place for lunch and dinner every night for the whole week! We spoke about LA and he recommended restaurants I could go to in LA that are owned by his Italian friends from Como.
Aperitivo et al- Adorable wine bar right by Ristorante Bilacus. Same owner! Head over here for pre or after dinner drinks!
Alle Darsene di Loppia- Head here for lunch. It is away from town but it was a cute little place to grab a nice bite.
Gastronomia Mini Market Antichi Sapori- Grab a casual aperitif here from this mini grocery store. You can also pick up some great local treats to take back home with you. I brought home pasta and dehydrated mushrooms.
What to wear? Well it rains quite a bit in Como. In the summer it is warm sprinkles here and there. I brought sundresses and had a few paris of jeans, sweaters, a light coat and sneakers. No need to pack rain boots. I avoid heavy rain boots while traveling unless I absolutely need to pack them. Besides, your hotel should have umbrellas for you! The weather was warm and sunny every day of the trip except for one day!
Hope you feel like you have a mini vision in your mind of what Lake Como is like. I also hope you enjoyed my stories from my personal experience there!