Lake Como - A rich man's paradise, a poor man's dream!
The very first image that Como conjures up is one of the extremely sexy George Clooney, in a pastel linen shirt and white trousers ????
On my Italian vacation, we decided to visit Lago di Como on a day trip from Milan. Catching the early morning train from Milano Centrale, we reached Varenna-Esino, the nearest station to reach the lake town of Bellagio. It takes approximately 1 hr to reach Varenna from Milan, on a regional train. Each way tickets are around EUR 7. With the growing popularity of Lake Como, the trains remain quite packed (please don't expect a seat!).
From the Varenna station, it is almost a 10 minutes walk to the ferry. The road meanders along pretty houses lined with colorful bougainvilleas. The way to the ferry is a little tricky, but follow the hordes of tourists and you will be fine! ????
Varenna-Esino station - your stop for Bellagio
The Varenna ferry operates to 3 Como towns - Bellagio, Menaggio and Cadenabbia. While the ferry to Bellagio starts from 6:50 am, the last one is at 23:05 pm; the ferry to Menaggio starts from 7:35 am (last one is at 22:45 pm) and there are only 3 ferries to Cadenabbia (6:50 am, 21:25 pm and 23:05 pm). The ferries to Bellagio and Menaggio are available every 45 mins, and also ferries vehicles. Each way to Bellagio costs approx. EUR 5 and takes 20 minutes.
Lake Como is a glacial lake from the Lombardy region of Italy. It is the 3rd largest lake in Italy (after Lake Garda & Lake Maggiore), covering an area of 146 sq. km and with a depth of 1300 ft. Lake Como is famous for its landscapes, ornamental villas of the aristocrats, frequent visits of the rich and famous (and George Clooney ???????? ) and for various sporting activities (windsurfing, sailing, kite-surfing) that takes place in and around the lake.
Bellagio is a quaint little town on Lake Como. If you image Lake Como to be an inverted Y, then Bellagio is situated just at the juncture of the two arms. With exotic villas and churches, Bellagio attracts tourists from different parts of the world, any time of the year.
The main road runs across the town, with fancy restaurants and shops selling porcelain dolls, exquisite jewelleries and other trinkets, along both the sides. The restaurants that offers splendid view of the lake, are the most expensive ones, with dishes starting from EUR 20. While we were quite hungry, we weren't really ready to burn that kinda hole in our pockets. So, we found a nice little place, that's not OTT but serves the purpose. We ordered a plate of oysters for EUR 20, Spaghetti for EUR 10 and a bottle of Pinot Grigio for EUR 15.
After our sumptuous lunch, we came outside to people gathered on the streets and a lot of commotion. On asking, we saw a group of 5 men, all in their 50s, were skydiving and landed right in the middle of the road. The crowd was cheering them on. The energy at Bellagio was terrific and it has a happy vibe around it!
Lake Como is known for the various sporting activities it has to offer
Now, if you are looking for a more luxurious way to see the most famous spots around the lake, you can hire one of the private water limousines or boat taxis. You can hire these for 1-2 hours or on a half-day/ full-day basis. A ride on of these would set you back by EUR 100 (1 hr)/ EUR 175 (2 hrs)/ EUR 700 (Half-day)/ EUR 1500 (Full-day). But who cares when you get to see stunning villas like Villa Carlotta, Vila d'Este, Villa del Balbionello, right?
For a more touristy tour of the town, you can hop-on and hop-off the Trombetta Express - a quirky and colourful train that would take you around Bellagio for a 25 minutes ride for just EUR 5.
The Trombetta Express Source: www.explorelakecomo.com
If you are visiting Lake Como, one word of advice would be - DO NOT miss the sunset at any cost! It is simply MAGICAL!!! We werent' very hopeful to catch the sunset as it was getting cloudy. But suddenly, the sky was painted a feisty orange as the clouds dispersed. The setting Sun turned the waters of Lake Como turned into a bright golden orange hue. That day, I had captured few of the best sunset pics of my life. It was breathtakingly beautiful! (We also caught a glimpse of Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan, who was shooting for one of his upcoming movies with Vaani Kapoor).
Overpriced, overrated or overhyped - whatever you might say, but without a visit to Lago di Como, your trip to the Lombardy region would be incomplete.
Overwhelmed, we caught the ferry back to Varenna and waited for the train to Milano, but that's another story!
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