21 Feb 4 Days in Lake Como in October
Lake Como, located in northern Italy is a large lake shaped like an upside-down Y. We’ve all heard of George Clooney owning a house in Lake Como, it is a popular spot for many rich and famous. The area oozes luxury and we spent a relaxing 4 days in Lake Como in October.
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Lake Como in October
Our visit to Lake Como was October 19-22. The weather prior to our trip was showing the Lake Como area was going to be quite cool however, just before my last-minute packing I checked again and temperatures were going to be low 20’s (celsius). It was perfect for walking around, we just wore light jackets. I was glad to be in this area outside of peak tourism time, I’m not sure I would have found it as relaxing as I did in October.
Getting to Lake Como
There are a number of towns on the lake. We chose to start our Lake Como adventure in the town called Como. You can get to Como in just over thirty minutes from Milan. Our train journey began in Florence, we got off a train in Milano Centrale Station and then got another one to Como San Giovanni Station.
Our 4 day Lake Como trip started in the town at the southern tip of the lake. It’s easy to get to, is full of historical buildings and has beautiful views of the lake and Alps. We spent one night in Como.
Hotel in Como
Our hotel in Como was Albergo Terminus. After a 1km walk from the station, we arrived at a grand old hotel across from Lake Como. Albergo Terminus dates back to the 19th century and the lobby and dining room display old-world sophistication.
What to see and do in Como
We walked along the lake to the Funicular. This takes you uphill to the village Brunate and gives a fantastic view down over Lake Como. We had planned on going up and walking further onwards to the lighthouse. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the entrance there was a notice on the door saying it was closed for three days of maintenance.
Drinks by the Lake
We enjoyed drinks sitting opposite the lake at Lago food&Co. After being served bread, nuts and olives, we were worried what the service charge would be. We were pleasantly surprised when we were only charged for our drinks.
Gelato by the Lake
Notice the theme? everything is better when enjoyed with a beautiful view. We bought a gelato each and sat by the lake.
Dinner in Como
We didn’t eat dinner by the lake, it was dark anyway. We ate at Riva Cafe. My gnocchi wasn’t the best but it was still good. After seeing the large oval pizzas, Tim ordered himself one and it was better than expected.
Rally car race
This is random but we happened to be in Como during a rally car race. When we were walking to our hotel in the afternoon the cars were leaving. During dinner, we heard them coming back through town and afterwards walked up to see they were announcing the places. We had no idea what was being said but it was a fun atmosphere that added to our stay in Como.
Walk around Como’s Old Town
Como has a lot of interesting architecture to view. The Cathedral of Como features various styles as it took almost four centuries to build. We simply strolled around looking at all the different buildings. After turning a corner, we came across a little Christmas makers market filled with wonderful handmade pieces. I bought a present for my mother-in-law as a thank you for looking after our kids while we were away.
Villas and Museums
There are a number of villas and museums in Como. We didn’t visit any, we had planned on spending our time going up the funicular and walking further up. After that fell through we decided on drinks and gelato by the lake.
The best thing to do in Lake Como
In my opinion, the best thing to do in Lake Como is to get a boat across the lake to another town. We chose to get the slow boat from Como to Bellagio. Read about our Lake Como slow boat journey.
Lake Como branches out in three directions and Bellagio sits in the centre point. Its position means it has excellent views. We stayed for two nights in Bellagio.
Hotel in Bellagio
For our stay in Bellagio, we chose Borgo Le Terrazze, mostly for the spectacular views. I emailed them upon our arrival and they picked us up in the town centre in the hotel shuttle bus. Borgo Le Terrazze is located uphill, which is why it has great views looking down over Lake Como.
Our room was a junior suite with lake view. The room was spacious and great for relaxing. Large glass doors opened onto the balcony with views over Lake Como and out to the mountains. When we checked in there was afternoon fog so we were able to appreciate the view much more the next morning.
Usually, we would walk everywhere so, it was a little annoying to not be able to walk to and from the town centre whenever we liked. The hotel runs a free shuttle, which is a fantastic service but it meant we had to plan around the times. We thought about walking the distance but I didn’t feel safe walking on the winding road. The staff at Borgo Le Terrazze were all friendly and accommodating. They don’t cook but they do offer some snacks, drinks and a breakfast buffet. We didn’t eat there but we did buy a bottle of wine and had the perfect setting on our balcony to enjoy it.
What to see & do in Bellagio
There are a number of villas that can be visited in and around Bellagio, we chose not to spend the money on them. We had thought about getting the boat to one of the other towns but instead, we simply spent the time wandering around Bellagio and enjoying afternoon wines and really had a wonderful relaxing time.
It was great to go into the town in the morning and see the streets without all the tourists. We bought an apple pastry from a little store and then strolled around, up and down lots of stairs.
An observation deck is located at the very tip of Bellagio. Jutting out into the lake with mountains all around and the Alps in the distance, this is a spectacular spot to take in Lake Como.
For lunch, we prefer a quick, cheap option over a sit-down meal. In Bellagio that was Bellavita, which serves Italian street food. They had lots of options available. The first day we chose a panini with salami, cheese and tomato. On our second visit, we had to try their pizza slices and they were delicious, especially the prosciutto and potato. We sat on cushions they have on the steps and had to keep our feet back when cars came down the tiny road. We also popped in after dinner one night and got takeaway tiramisu. The staff here on each occasion were super warm and friendly.
Both nights we ate dinner at restaurant La Fontana, mostly because they were open early and we had to work around the shuttle bus times. They also seemed more authentic than some of the restaurants closer to the lake. Our first night, both homemade pasta dishes with pesto and amatriciana sauces were delicious. The second night we both got carbonara which was incredibly tasty.
After our stay in Bellagio, we took a short boat ride to another Lake Como town, Varenna. The reason we chose to visit Varenna was due to being able to get a direct train ride back to Milan. It’s a small town but it is very picturesque. Little streets, hanging vines, houses set into the hills and of course lake views. There is also a little stone beach area along the waterfront.
Varenna has a 12th-century castle which we discovered when looking at Google maps. We weren’t sure how long the walk up to it would take so, gave it a miss. I bought a lovely leather bracelet with a little fish charm from a boutique store. We spent just over an hour walking around Varenna before making our way to the station to buy our train tickets to Milan. Varenna Esino to Milano Centrale is a one hour journey.
A relaxing 4 days in Lake Como
We had thought of doing a lot more with our four days in Lake Como. A maintenance closure was out of our control. We found ourselves just stepping back and enjoying where we were. It is a beautiful scenic area and being by the water is always calming. We ended up enjoying a really relaxing four days in Lake Como.
Is Lake Como kid-friendly?
Our Italy trip was our first kid-free vacation and while it wouldn’t be as relaxing, we think Lake Como would make a great family trip and would definitely consider returning with our boys. We wouldn’t do the slow boat with our kids but shorter boat rides would be fun and train connections from Milan make it easy to get to.