PWk: Prod, Tlk: GS2, Datacash: Live
Holidays to Lake Como offer visitors a true taste of Italian luxury, romance and beauty. A favourite destination with honeymooning couples, as well as the rich and famous, Lake Como is a popular break for a romantic getaway. Located not far from Milan, the lake is one of Italy’s most picturesque, and is surrounded by dramatic peaks, charming medieval towns and villages, as well as grand, luxurious hotels and villas.
Spend some time browsing the boutiques in elegant Bellagio, admiring the gardens in Tremezzo and Varenna with its ice cream coloured houses. It may be busy and popular but there are several untouched villages off the beaten track to explore further – including Lecco in the south east corner of the lake; quiet Bellano; and striking Argegno, which is backed by tall peaks. The town of Como shouldn’t be overlooked either – the gateway to the lake, most travellers are only passing through, but stop a while to explore its historic Medieval centre and take in the views from its lakeside promenade.
Holidays to Lake Como offer a great variety of dining options, but if you’re looking for somewhere unique with an interesting history, head to Crotto dei Platani - one of the oldest restaurants on the lake. Open since 1855, it’s located in a cave-like cellar, right on the shores of the lake in Brienno, and was even used as smugglers cave in the 1930s. Choose to sit down inside the atmospheric cellar or outside by the lake shore under the stars.
Do as the locals do and act like you’re at the seaside, by making a visit to the Lido de Lenno – a small artificial beach with sun loungers and a dedicated swimming spot.
If you like to be a little more active, take a hike along one of Lake Como’s prettiest walks. Colonno to Griante takes you via the quaint villages of Sala Comacina, Ossucio, Lenno and Mezzegra. It takes approximately two hours, but you can always take your time, stopping to explore the villages along the way.
There are many things to do on holidays to Lake Como, whether you feel like a relaxing and romantic break, taking it easy or being more active and exploring. You can’t beat a walk around the lake shore, admiring the views of the bottle green mountains tumbling down to meet the deep indigo waters.
To get to know the lake and its surroundings a little better, why not take a boat tour, which will take you around some of the more spectacular parts of the lake, as well as some of its most magnificent lakeside villas? You can also spend your time visiting some of the lake’s most picturesque towns and villages, such as Bellagio, Bellano, Cadenabbia and Colico. These all offer an idyllic setting where you can amble along cobbled streets, peering into boutiques and admiring the views from small lakeside cafés, while you enjoy a coffee and pastry. Or maybe you’ll spend your time rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous at some of the lake’s most romantic restaurants.
The closest airport to Lake Como is Milan Malpensa (MXP). Direct flights to Milan are available from Birmingham, Edinburgh, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, London Stansted and Manchester and take approximately 2 hours.
Direct flights to Milan Bergamo (BGY) depart from London Stansted, Bristol, Manchester, East Midlands and Belfast and take approximately 2 hours.
Lake Como is a summer destination, with the season generally running from April to October. Temperatures are at their hottest in July and August and this is when Como is at its busiest. The ideal time for swimming in the lake is from July to September when the water temperature exceeds 20 degrees. The climate in the spring and autumn is still warm which makes it perfect for visiting at the beginning or end of season too. For those who want to avoid the busiest crowds but still enjoy warm temperatures, May, June and September are ideal months to visit.
Fish is an obvious specialism on the shores of Lake Como, and freshwater fish such as trout, shad (like sardines) and perch is caught here daily. You’ll find fish cooked every way on the menus here - grilled and fried or mixed into risottos and pastas. One of the most typical dishes is Risotto con Filetti di Pesce Persico (risotto with perch fish fillets), which is often flavoured with butternut squash, sage and parmesan.
The fertile shores around Lake Como are ideal for olive groves and vineyards, so it’s no surprise that the region produces some great Italian olive oils and wines. One of the best wine growing areas nearby is Valtellina, just north of Lake Como, which produces excellent reds such as Valtellina Superiore and Rosso di Valtellina. To taste some of the best quality olive oils, head to the town of Lenno, which has been producing cold pressed olive oil since the 19th Century.
Besides the famous Italian desserts such as gelato, something you have to try when holidaying in Lake Como is Miascia – Italy’s answer to the UK’s bread and butter pudding. It’s made from stale bread, milk, eggs, sugar, butter, apples, pine nuts, and raisins and can be topped with anything from chocolate to crumbled macaroons. Cutizza is another dessert to try while you’re around Lake Como – it’s a type of sweet vanilla and lemon pancake.