High Heels & A Backpack took a little detour to Lake Como last week whilst passing through Milan and boy was she glad that she did. This is her tried and tested itinerary on how to spend a day at Lake Como.
At the lake, every angle offers a picture perfect sight – the rolling hills, the fragrant flowers that grow by the riverside, the pastel colored houses neatly stacked among the hilltops… Ay-yay-ay!
If you want to enjoy a relaxing break with scenic views then you can most certainly find enough to do here to spend a little longer at Como, however you can also see pretty much everything in a day, and the lake makes for a perfect day trip from Milan.
Arrive at the lake early to avoid the crowds.
…especially in the summer months when tourists flock here in their masses on vacation. Arriving at the lake at 8am, the sun had just come up, the weather was still a little fresh and breezy, and there was nobody at the lake but me and a few early bird Italian fisherman. This way, you can enjoy the lake and the scenery in peace, and get in some fabulous photos before the tourist hoards come out to play later on.
Explore The Town Of Como
One may assume that a popular holiday destination like Lake Como is filled with overpriced so-so cafes and stores selling tourist tat, however you will be pleasantly surprised to find that the area is rather chic and sophisticated. There are many upscale boutiques and clothing stores showcasing the works of respected Italian designers, and many trendy establishments where you can enjoy a coffee or an aperitivo in the Italian sun.
Piazza del Duomo square is filled with beautiful medieval buildings to marvel at – the town hall, the Torre del commune tower, and the Duomo (cathedral).
Ride The Funicolare To Brunate
The “funicolare” (what a fun word to say…funicolare!) is an old fashioned uphill tram which connects Como with the small hilltop town of Brunate. It’s a cute way to get from A to B for sure, however it also provides you with magnificent views over Como and the Alps.
From the top, take a walk to the Volta lighthouse to get even better views and take a peek out to bordering Switzerland. The walk takes about 30 minutes and it’s a nice scenic path up to the top. The lighthouse was built in honour of Alessandro Volta, the Italian developer of the first electrical cell (bit of trivia for you that may come in handy for pub quiz nights!)
Another picturesque nearby town, Bellagio is a quaint little place made up of an intricate network of twisty, pedestrian only streets, pastel coloured buildings with red roofs like something from a fairytale, and breathtaking views of Como below from every turn.
You can get to Bellagio by bus or ferry. The bus is cheaper and runs more frequently from Como station, however the ferry across the lake is obviously the more scenic choice.
Getting to Lake Como
It’s relatively cheap and easy to get to Lake Como from Milan. From Milano Centrale, take the metro two stops to Garibaldi station, then take the train bound for Como S.Giovanni (Como is the last stop). The train takes about an hour and five minutes, and the ride will cost you €4.80.
Renting a car in Italy is also a good shout for the
insane brave (have you seen the way Italians drive?!) and there is plentiful parking at Como.