Friday, September 10, 2010

Where to stay on Lake Como

Having been totally unclear about this when we set off for the Lake Como area this month I thought I would add a quick few words of advice on our return. If you are reading this you have probably already decided to go to Lake Como, if you are not yet decided then ‘do it!’. I can definitely recommend the Lake Como area for a visit – it’s a stunningly beautiful region with load of great things to do. Oh and of course there’s the food!

Ooops – I digress – back to the question of ‘where to stay on Lake Como’. We, like most people who are new to the Lake Como area, wanted to explore the whole lake area. For this reason, the town of Como itself and the other areas at the lake’s extremities like Lecco and Colico were discounted. We did not get to Lecco or Colico but I suspect, like Como which we did visit, they are stunning and well worth visiting. Time was against us as were only had three days at the lake. As we knew we would be ‘short of time’ for exploring we decided on the central Lake Como area. Bellagio, probably being the most famous, was also the most busy with very little very high priced accommodation available (September).

We therefore chose to stay in Cadenabbia as this has regular boat services across to Bellagio, Varenna and all other points on the lake, as well as being within walking distance of Tremezzo, Villa Carlotta, etc. There is also plenty of land based transport (buses and tourist trains) to the other places on the Western side of the lake including Menaggio, Lenno, Laglio (seemingly George Clooney’s village!), etc.

Having just returned I am pleased to say it was a great choice - I would wholly recommend Cadenabbia as a great base to see the Lake Como area. It has great transport links, by land and lake, to the other areas we wanted to explore and several great places to eat just a short walk between Cadenabbia and Tremezzo.

During out short stay we used the stunning Grand Hotel Cadenabbia, a majestic old building right on the lake, with stunning lake views across to Bellagio and Varenna from its top floor restaurant, 4th floor bars and sun terraces. The hotel and it’s staff where superb and I was surprised to hear that they are closing shortly (winter 2010/11) for refurbishment and the installation of an exciting new spa and indoor pool area. I think we need to book again for next summer (or winter!).

It was a shame we did not have enough time at the lake to see more but I would wholly recommend visiting Como, Bellagio and Menaggio. Whilst at the lake we did the following:

Hired a speedboat for a tour of Lake Como – great fun. No boat licence or experience necessary, and a great way of seeing the lake, its stunning villas, the James Bond Casino Royale sets (Villa Balbianello near Lenno and Villa La Gaeta near Mneaggio) and the many great lakeside towns.

Italian Cookery course at Varenna – great fun, and great value as it includes a superb meal!

Visited Como – a lovely place for a walk around and a lakeside meal. The front was being renovated (September 2010) but once completed this should be great. The funicular railway up the mountain overlooking the lake also looks a good trip!

Visited Bellagio, Menaggio and Varenna – all stunning places.

I guess you get the idea – I haven’t counted the ‘stunnings’ above but I get the feeling I would not win any literary awards! Too much use of the word ‘stunning’.

Get yourself down to Cadenabbia, enjoy the Italian food, and explore Lake Como!

A few links:

Things to do on Lake Como

Things to do in Menaggio

Things to do in Bellagio

Things to do in Como

Map of Cadenabbia, lake Como and things to do in the area - scroll down to see the map!

The highly recommended Grand Hotel Cadenabbia.



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