I don’t care if some people say travel in European countries is going the “safe” and “easy” route. I still love exploring Europe.
Sure there are other areas of the world that are considered more exotic and are most certainly cheaper, but that’s not always the point. Sometimes you should go somewhere just because you want to go.
On our most recent European tour, Italy was our primary destination. The first stop on our Italian Itinerary? Lake Como.
Why Lake Como?
This particular spot probably wouldn’tve been on my radar for a while, but when I was watching one of the James Bond films, Casino Royale, part of the movie took place in Lake Como and it was gorgeous. One of the spots they spent time at was Villa Balbianello. The Villa itself is interesting and its immaculate gardens are fun to wander around, too. All of this made me want to see Lake Como in person.
We flew into Milan and then rented a car at the airport. It takes about an hour to get to the town of Como,which it at the southernmost end of the lake. Roads were mainly highways or fast-moving streets, so getting to Como was a breeze.
Once we got to the lake, we continued north on the western side. The roads shrunk down to two lanes, and the width tends to narrow considerably in places. If you’re renting a car, I’d say you should opt for a small one, but I think that may be your only option in Europe, anyway. They sure seem to love their small cars so there’s no need to worry about getting stuck with a gas-guzzling behemoth.
Here’s our cute little car. :)
Seeing The Lake for the First Time
Once you get to the town of Como and continue on, you’ll finally get your first glimpse of the lake. It’s even more beautiful in person. But truthfully it’s not just about the lake. If it weren’t for the surrounding hillsides and the colorful Italian towns dotting the shoreline, the lake wouldn’t be anything all that exciting. It’s the whole package that makes it interesting.
Choosing Your Home Base
The lake is super long and it can take at least a couple of hours to drive from top to bottom. So when you’re sorting out your accommodations, you’ll want to factor in where you’ll be spending most of your time. Since we had a car, though, it didn’t matter quite as much because even if it took a little while to get to our destination, we had the flexibility to drive there when we wanted.
We actually ended up at the north end of the lake in Trezzone and it was fine. We stayed at Villa Tres Jolie, an awesome Bed & Breakfast with killer views (as you’ll see in the photo below that I took from our balcony. Though I think it’s probably hard to get a bad view from anywhere on the lake :).
I don’t think Lake Como can fail to impress you. If the lake doesn’t do it for you by itself, then maybe the tree-covered mountains towering over the lake will help. And if natural beauty isn’t your thing, then just take a stroll through one of the many quaint Italian villages.
Lake Como is a truly lovely area and whether you want to go there to just relax or to go explore everything, you could easily end up spending a lot of time here.
Here’s a big-picture map of where Lake Como sits. I didn’t realize just how tiny it looks on an entire map of Italy.
Here’s another view – you can click on this map to see it in Google Maps.