Anniversary Trip to Italy 2019 – Lake Como

Looking out over Lake Como

A couple of weeks ago I left you with this blog post, where we explored Umbria as part of our early anniversary trip to Italy.

Will had kept our next destination a surprise until the night before we set off from Umbria, and I was more than delighted to find out we were heading towards Lake Como!

I had been a few years earlier with a friend for a flying visit and loved it then, so was delighted to be able to re-discover it with Will at a more leisurely pace. We had five nights there and plenty of time to relax and explore.

Lunch in Modena

Dress – Topshop (sale) / Non Maternity here – limited sizes left /
Cutest Fiat 500 – borrowed 😉

Modena, Italy

It is a beautiful peachy pink hued city that is chic and elegant in every way. The people, the buildings, the food! And there were literally no tourists that we could see anyway. We meandered around a dreamy food market, picking up supplies for our apartment at Lake Como and stopped for a very delicious lunch at the relaxed cafe Mama Puglia (delicious) – we both had smiles on our faces as we got back in the car.

Ok we were only there for two hours max, but I know enough to happily return to see more of Modena and the region in general. Modena is in the Emilia-Romagna region which is also home to Bologna and Parma so you know you are going to eat well when you are there!

A number more hours in the car, and we started to catch a glimpse of the shores of Lake Como. We had arrived!

My Guide to Lake Como

What to see in Lake Como

Oh Lake Como you beauty!

It really has to be seen to be believed and all the pictures in the world can’t do this place justice.

The colours, the smells (the air smelled like jasmine everywhere you went), the glamour. It has an old charm that is hard to replicate anywhere else in the world. The views are incredible.

If you haven’t been at least once in your life, put it on your bucket list!

Where to stay in Lake Como

Hotel with a pool and beach in Lake Como

Dress / Sandals – only £15! / Bag – from Greece

Hotel Filario Beach

The pool at Hotel Filario

The balcony at the apartment at Hotel Filario, Lake Como

Hotel Filario bedroom

Will is a great hotel booker and made no exception with this find – he specifically wanted a pool and that makes it a bit tricky as there aren’t loads of places to stay around the lake that have pools. However he came up trumps with Filario Hotel and Residences (we often look at The Telegraph for travel tips and hotels if you ever need inspiration).

The hotel wasn’t the prettiest to look at on the outside, but the setting right on the lake front was magical. It had a gorgeous pool overlooking the lake and even a small beach with a pizza/cocktail cabana.

We had one of the apartments that was set off from the main hotel, but still had access to the hotel facilities and breakfast. This was ideal as it meant we could make a couple of meals from home to save on money and just as a little treat from going out to restaurants.

The apartment was really lovely and modern – we had a bedroom and separate kitchen and living area as well as a great big balcony overlooking the lake.

The hotel is in the small local town of Lezzeno, which is only a few minutes or boat ride away from Bellagio so you are well located to explore!

It wasn’t cheap that’s for sure though, so always hunt around for the best deals.

If you are really looking to splurge, The Grand Hotel Tremezzo is really quite something and even has a floating pool on the lake!

What to do in Lake Como

Guide to Lake Como

Again, alike Umbria we knew we wanted to still take it easy during this leg of the trip and not push ourselves to see every sight there was to see. Just soaking up the sights and sounds of the lake were almost enough, but of course we did get out and about a bit.

Here’s our highlights:

Bellagio

Bellagio, Lake Como

What to see in Lake Como - Bellagio

Of course you have to visit Bellagio when you come to Lake Como, it is straight out of a movie set and dreamy to wander around for an hour or so.

However be warned, it is flooded with tourists and not actually that much to see and do there. Stop for a Gelato, soak up the atmosphere and hop on a ferry/boat to neighbouring Varenna.

Varenna

Must visit places Lake Como, Varenna

Places to visit, Lake Como - Varenna

Varenna, Lake Como

Arguably prettier than Bellagio, it is less crowded and feels much more authentic. I loved jumping off the boat in to this pretty town and meandering along the coast taking in all the beautiful views.

There are plenty of places to eat here – we just picked on the busy little cafe/restaurants. It wasn’t the best food we’ve eaten by a stretch but the atmosphere and setting more than made up for it for an enjoyable lunch.

Hire a boat 

Hiring a boat on Lake Como

Lake Como from the Water

Guide to Lake Como

The views from the Lake

You can nip about across Lake Como really easily on one of the many boats/ferries/hydrofoils that go from town to town all day. This in itself is a delight.

However if you really want to do something special, hire a boat and a skipper and get a guided tour of the Lake.

It is pretty spendy, but we had the most delicious two hours pretending we were movie stars with the wind in our hair and all our cares in the world thrown to the lake!

Our Guide, Matteo showed us lots of interesting places, villas and told us information that was fascinating to hear. He took us to a sweet little village for a gelato before speeding us down to the Clooney villa to have a little peek.

I am partial to a boat trip at the best of times, but this really was one of the highlights of our whole trip.

Villa Carlotta

Villa Carlotta, Lake Como

What to do in Lake Como - visit Villa Carlotta

Dress (not maternity) / Bag – similar / Sandals – only £15! /
Scarf – Lois Avery

Lake Como

As you will already know, I have developed a bit of a love for gardens and so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have a look around the best garden on Lake Como – or so they say!

Just on the edge of Tremezzo, Villa Carlotta is a stunning botanical garden and museum. We happily wiles away a couple of hours – there is no choice but to be relaxed!


Italy never fails to amaze me with its rich diversity and beauty. Truly one of my favourite countries.

Until next year, when it is my turn to book the surprise and we will have a little one in tow! If you have any recommendations, I would love to hear them!

CATCH UP ON OUR PREVIOUS ITALY TRIPS 

Honeymoon, Amalfi Coast: Monastero Santa Rosa
Year one, Puglia: Exploring Puglia | Staying at Nina Trulli
Year two, Tuscany: Part 1 | Part 2
 We also visited the Dolomites, not for an anniversary, but it was spectacular: Visiting the Dolomites, South Tyrol


 

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