Lake Como makes a stunning luxury holiday on its own, but many visitors incorporate it as part of a wider Italian Lakes or northern Italy itinerary. If you are not going to be touring in a car, there are plenty of boat services, including private boats, available to help you to visit some of the main towns and attractions around the lake, which has a perimeter of over 100 miles.
Cernobbio is a very pretty town that lies at the foot of Mount Bisbino and has an eye-catching waterfront where old narrow streets and piazzas are lined by a delightful collection of picturesque houses, cafes, restaurants and shops. Nearby is one of the grandest hotels in all Europe, the Villa d'Este, whose parkland grounds boast Italy's only ‘floating swimming pool’ (it actually sits atop the lake) and a beautiful path to take you on a wonderful gentle nature walk. It enjoys a bustling atmosphere, particularly down by the harbour where ferry boats run between Cernobbio and many other towns on the lake.
The historic town of Bellagio is considered by many to be the most beautiful in the Italian Lake District and its spectacular location at the junction of the arms of the lake offers visitors breathtaking views from the tree-lined waterfront promenade. Stroll through a maze of cobblestone streets and stepped alleyways and stop to admire the impeccable homes and glorious villas that are truly enchanting. Two gardens that are worthy of a look, that are open to the public, are Villa Serbelloni and Villa Melzi. There is a good helping of cafes and restaurants in Bellagio, especially off the main street of Via Garibaldi, that is also home to the main piazza which is dominated by the church of San Giacomo that houses lovely frescoes.
Menaggio is dotted with ornate villas and houses and you can enjoy amazing views of Bellagio and Varenna from a distance.
Varenna is charm personified with its steep winding alleys, flowering balconies and lace-curtained windows. As you approach on the eastern shores of the lake you are greeted by a delightful set of narrow houses, unfolding themselves over a small beach lined with many boats. You may be tempted to grab a boat and go fishing but instead why not try some of the delicious fresh fish found in one of the local trattorias.
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Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
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Explore on foot, by bicycle or car by all means, but don’t miss out on a water-bourne adventure. Whether you hire your own speedboat or sailing boat or prefer to cruise the lake with a Captain at the helm, the views and sheer tranquillity are not to be missed.
Pleasurable walking can be found on the west side of the lake at the Lake Como Greenway, a trail that largely clings to the edge of the water, occasionally rising up the hill behind. Around Tremezzo it passes through a very attractive lakeside park where locals come to picnic and bathe on the weekends. If you prefer, take the funicular on the western shore of the lake to the top of the mountain to enjoy spectacular views.
Golf Club Villa d'Este is about seven miles away from Villa d'Este hotel and features an 18-hole, par-69, 6331-yard golf course designed by Peter Gannon which is a challenging course, yet it hosts several amateur competitions each year. Golfers will also enjoy a wonderful view of the Montorfano lake from the clubhouse.
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Our Travel Consultants can advise on, arrange and pre-book many things to enhance your holiday. This includes everything from spa reservations and dinner reservations, to a range of special experiences available in our featured resorts that you may not know about.
Villa d'Este offers a host of excurisons including private chauffuer-driven tours, motorboats with your own Captain and scenic seaplane flights over the lake.
The island's only island, Comacina is unihabited today, but the little church of St John celebrates the saint's feast day (24 June) every year with a firework display on the following Saturday that lights up the lake.