Bellagio the belle of Lake Como

The stunning village of Bellagio situated on the waters edge of Lago di Como is a personal favourite in this region of Italy.  A picturesque village aligned with gorgeous boutiques, stunning views and delicious restaurants it is an ideal location to sit back and soak up this incredible destination.

Where to stay:

With a small number of B&B’s, apartments and hotels we chose a stunning residence located within the centre of the old town.  Set within a peaceful green oasis the apartments give a quiet escape from the bustling crowds that flock to Bellagio each day.  The apartment was large, clean and spacious, with a fully equipped kitchen, air conditioning and all important free wifi – the rating we would give would be 3 Stars, yet the view and location is without doubt 5 Stars! Of course, if you prefer a resort my choice here for a 5 STAR experience is the stunning Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni.

Where to Dine:

With many places to dine – here’s a taste of some of our favourites.

Far Out

Far Out Ristorante

Was so good we had to return for a second time.  A traditional dining option popular with locals, it was full to the brim with diners seeking out fresh seafood and pasta dishes. A warm and relaxed atmosphere sit back and enjoy a local vino while enjoying dishes bursting with flavour – My favourite was the ‘Far Out’ a delectable soup served with white fish, scallops, mussels, squid, crab and more – delish!  If you’re gluten-free you will be delighted to find a range of options to choose from.  Make sure you leave from for dessert – delectable tiramisu.

Alle Darsene di Loppia

Alle Darsene di Loppia Ristorante

Make your way through the Melzi gardens to the stylish Alle Darsene di Loppia where you can dine under the shade of their pergolato.  Away from the main tourist area this restaurant offers a peaceful reprieve from the busy tourist centre.  Choose from the à la carte menu or for EUR50 you can enjoy their latest ‘tasting menu’.  Offering an extensive wine list, don’t be surprised you may wish to return to try more of their beautifully crafted dishes, bursting with flavour. A popular place to dine, I would recommend to book well ahead for an outside table.

Aperitivo Et Al

Aperitivo et Al Wine Bar

A great find is this small wine bar offering a large selection of good quality Italian wines to enjoy.  Offering a number of small tasting menus with matching wine you can relax and enjoy the recommended wine pairings, or stay for in-depth advice on the best wine to taste from the region. Go Crazy – the great news is they ship all over the world – we came home with a number of treasures.

Ristorante Mistral

Ristorante Mistral

Housed within the fabulous Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni is this superb Michelin star restaurant, situated on a glassed terrace with stunning views across the lake.  Serving traditional cuisine with an innovative approach the dishes are created to the highest quality.  I would recommend the tasting menu to explore the flavours that this stunning restaurant has to offer.

What to See:

To truly take in the scenery of Lago di Como you will need a minimum of 3 days – but ideally longer if you wish to relax and enjoy what this region has to offer.

Surrounded by magnificent mountains and picturesque villages, you can spend days exploring the lakeside towns, visiting historic residences and admiring the many spectacular lakeside villas.  Getting around is easy by using the local ferries and hydrofoils which offer a scheduled service to and from the main villages.

Hire your own boat – best way to travel Lake Como

For the ultimate experience I can highly recommend to hire your own boat (even for just a day).  It’s a magnificent way to explore at your own pace.  You can zip around to any village you choose, get a closer look at the lakeside villas, stop to take a swim, or park up and enjoy lunch onboard with the incredible alpine views in the background.

Menaggio

Menaggio – credit:Kiev.Victor/Shutterstock.com

Close to Bellagio (15-30 minutes) the picturesque village of Menaggio you can walk along the elegant lake promenade, explore the old town and chill by the lake for a gelato or cold drink. 

Varenna

Varenna Village – credit:Leoks/Shutterstock.com

An essential stop on any Como itinerary. Here you will find a stunning traditional village to explore by foot.  Don’t miss the Villa Monastero which was once an old monastery with its beautiful botanical gardens.  If you like the look of staying in a luxury villa, beside Villa Monastero is the stunning Villa Cipressi, where you could choose to stay, or simply pay tov visit its stunning gardens.

Castle Vezio

Caste of Vezio – credit:AntonioLosa/Shutterstock.com

While in Varenna it is well worth a hike to the top to Castle Vezio.  With outstanding views across the lake it’s a trek I would recommend. You can take two different paths. One is the quick steep path that leads directly to the castle and takes approximately 20 minutes, while the other is an ancient mule trail ‘Santiero del Viandante’ which offers more scenic views and take longer at 40-50 minutes. (If time permits you can also do the longer walk from Varenna to Bellano or vice versa which is the full hike taking 2-3 hours along this path of ‘Santiero del Viandate’ (Wayfarer’s Path). My recommendation would be to arrange transport to Bellano and start the walk from here.

Villa Balbianello

Villa del Balbianello – credit:Circumnavigation/Shutterstock.com

With a number of villas to visit along Lake Como this would be one you will not want to miss. Its beautiful terraced gardens and immaculate setting has seen it feature in many movies, including James Bond’s Casino Royale. 

San Martino Short Hike

San Martino Church – credit: FrancoBiz/Shutterstock.com

An approximate 45-60 minute hike up to San Martino mountain church will reward you with views over Lake Como. I would recommend to head up early morning or late afternoon avoid the heat in summer.  The view from the top make the effort worthwhile, and when you come back down enjoy a cool drink at Bar Vecchia Torre.

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