How to Get a Local Lake Como Experience
Lake Como is a beautiful destination to visit if you are planning on visiting Italy, you can visit on a day trip or even stay longer and see more of the local towns and villages which surround the lake. Various Italian and international celebrities own houses on Lake Como including George Clooney and Jose Mourinho the ex Inter Milan footballer manager. Check out our top tips how to escape the tourist crowds at Lake Como...
Top Places to See
There are lots of places to visit, you can jump on a boat to see including Bellagio, Menaggio, Varenna, Argegno, Cernobbio or Torno.
There are lots of accommodation available and hotel rooms for all budgets, you can also select from a number of tours, trips and excursions.
Best Place to Visit for an Authentic Experience
Lake Como in Italy is spectacular, you can expect stunning scenery, beautiful buildings and a really relaxing experience. But this destination is also really touristy with thousands of internationals visiting every year. So, where is best to escape the tourist crowds?
Torno is a short ferry ride from the sleepy town of Moltrasio, and a rather longer cruise from the bustling activity of Como. Torno is a peaceful cobbled town situated on the western fork of Lake Como, the ‘Navigazione’ ferry service offers an ideal way to investigate the many small towns which cling to the edges of the lake, and is relatively cheap at around three euros for a half hour journey. Travelling by boat seems the perfect way to get around in the foothills of the Italian alps – sounds of small waves lapping against the hull as the boat gently bumbles its way along, combined with the pungent smell of diesel force the culture-shocked traveller to remember that they really are no longer in mundane suburban England.
Upon arrival in Torno, one of several tanned and leathery looking ferry crew will rope in the small blue and white vessel and swing down the wooden boarding bridge. A small harbour and cobbled square greet visitors. Trees line a boulevard which looks out across the lake to Moltrasio, Cernobbio, and on a clear day even Como. After soaking in this glorious view, take up an hour or so with a visit to the Santa Tecla church (free) before exploring the luxurious houses and boats which line the pontoons at the end of Via Bartolomeo de Benzi, a particularly picturesque cobbled street.
When you are sufficiently hot, hungry, and thirsty (as you most definitely will be under a few hours under the Italian summer sun) grab some sparkling water and a pizza or two from the Albergo Ristorante Belvedere, and head down to the local swimming spot. The world’s best rocket, parma ham and parmesan pizza will set you back five euros; not much when you consider what you’re getting. Ask for a bag and take your lunch along the Via Plinio until you get to the main road. Take the first left and make your way down the Via Torreza. This small winding backstreet will take you to a hidden park, surrounded and concealed on all sides by elegant Lombardy villas and tall stone walls.
If it is particularly nice weather, you can expect a huddle of burnt Italian women in bikinis gossiping loudly on the steps. Half an hour spent relaxing in the cool azure waters will wash the fatigue from your limbs. Afterwards, dry off in the sun whilst eating your pizzas on one of the many benches dotting the park. If the sun is too much for you, move to the dappled shade of the trees, where a gentle Como breeze will soon dry you.
Surrounding Lake Como there are lots of historic buildings, gardens, restuarants, villas and viewing spots where you can get great pictures of the lake. You might also want to visit the Como Cathedral which is a popular option for tourists or join one of the many walks.
When the sun starts to dip behind the mountains and the locals begin to retire, zooming off on their roaring mopeds, it will be time to head back to the ferry station. Take time to slowly stroll through the colourful streets of Torno. When you get to the square, fill your water bottles from the copper fountain next to the church and say goodbye to one of the best places to see in Europe.
By Tom Kent
- 5 best places to see in Milan
- Venice hidden gems
- Italy backpacker tours
- Italy gap year programs
- Jobs in Italy
- Volunteer in Italy