Lake Como is one of the best and most romantic places I’ve ever been to.
This article is the much-awaited second part of our trip to the majestic Lake Como.

We will stop at Villa del Balbianello, the location shooting of Star Wars where Anakin Skywalker kissed Padme for the first time (Have you checked the video?). It’s also the location of the famous scene where James Bond was in a wheelchair after being poisoned and having won the poker game in Casino Royale. He was overlooking the lake as the man with the briefcase approached him.

Did I mention the 13-kilometre Greenway hike that I did for three hours? Not the Bear Grylls kind of a hike, but more of a recreational sightseeing kind, a photographer’s dream.

But first, as in every episode…

Before you go…some travel and hiking tips:

  1. Check your health before you go.
  2. Check the weather and your route before you go.
  3. Suitable footwear is needed as some route can be slippery and muddy, a walking stick can be useful as some route can be dangerously steep. Bring spare slippers or shoes to avoid an expensive car wash.
  4. Don’t forget your cameras, powerbanks or spare batteries to charge your devices. Drones can be useful but check your local guidelines and safety precautions.
  5. Rain coat or a tri-climate jacket, extra clothes or a bin bag are always handy. I always carry a bin bag everywhere I hike. It can be used to safeguard your belongings from the unforgiving weather.
  6. Do learn a few phrases, common language and how to ask questions about the target country. Additional lingo is a big plus and act as a nice gesture to the host country.
  7. Picnic is a must – light food, a bit of candy, power bar are handy while enjoying Nature, and of course your water bottle is very important.
  8. Travel light and please…. Take your rubbish home.

Alright! Now, you’re ready! As promised, we will start with Lake Como Bellagio, Verenna and Menaggio and how to reach these places in one go.
We can assume that this trip is your Day 2 trip list. Coming from Villa del Balbianello, take the bus going to Cadenabbia-Griante-Mennaggio. Before reaching Griante you will see the Cadenabbia Ferry which will take you to either Griante-Verenna or Griante-Bellagio; this time you want to take the ferry to Bellagio town centre. The boat trip, which costs €15 per day, includes the following stops: Varenna, Menaggio, Tremezzo and Lenno.
If you want to stay at Lake Como, stay at Bellagio, a small quaint village full of cute town houses, alley shopping area and nice restaurants. It’s located right in the middle of Lake Como, at the tip of the Y-shape lake with fantastic panoramic view of the three famous towns of Lake Como – Mennagio, Bellagio and Verenna. Bellagio is a 50-minute boat ride from central Como or around 45 minutes’ drive on a zigzag road. So my advice is to find a hotel in these three main towns to maximise your time at Lake Como. Busy months are from June to September. Loads of tourists, so if you want a relaxing atmosphere, try to visit around March to April or in October.

One of the most photographed part of Bellagio is the alley Salita Serbelloni (see my photo on a white shirt). The top most part of the alley is the most famous, especially when you look down with the breath-taking view of the lake trying to peak between the colourful apartments and shops. And if you head towards your left you will see the 11th centrury Basillica San Giacomo next to a local shop famous for silk where I bought my wife a lovely scarf that says ”Mi amore!”.

Keep going and head to the road Via Eugenio Vitali and you will reach a nice restaurant at the very tip of the town facing towards Verenna from the distance to your right and Menaggio further down to your left. But before you head back to the ferry, visit Villa Melzi botanical garden for €10 and the garden of Villa Serbelloni grand hotel.

On the same ferry terminal, take the Bellagio-Verenna route. Verenna is quieter than Bellagio and if you keep on going to your right from the dock, you will see a road that is called the “walk of lovers” (Passeggiata degli Innamorati). It will take you to the Riva Grande where you can enjoy the scenic bay and have some rejuvenating gelato. Plenty of shops, have a beer, or my favourite delightful pizza Quattro Formaggi (four cheese).

After Verenna, on the same ferry terminal, take the Verenna-Menaggio route. Top tips: Know the ferry schedule by heart as you don’t want to be stuck there, and know the bus schedule too, or you will end up like me and walk for hours as I missed my bus from Menaggio to Colonno. So easy to lose track of time with this magnificent view.

I enjoyed swimming in the lake. And in Lido Menaggio, you can enjoy a dip in a swimming pool at the side of the lake for €7 (price correct at the time of my visit). Grand hotel Menaggio has also got a nice pool so, if you want a hotel with a great view of the lake, and if you fancy a romantic night with a total disregard for the €300 per night price tag, this is the hotel for you.
I did enjoy my little adventure at Lake Como and hope that my photos will help to entice you to visit, and help you explore the area. Ciao! Bella! Check the new Euro travel guidelines before going!

Useful Italian words and phrases
Thank you – Grazie
Take me to the airport please – Mi porti all’aeroporto, per favore.
I’m so sorry – Mi dispiace tanto
Hello or Bye – Ciao
Beautiful – Bella
Where is the toilet? – Dov’è la toilette?

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