Holidays to Lake Como guarantee a picturesque landscape with dramatic mountain backdrops, miles of bustling lakeside promenades and a haven of romantic villas and gardens.
A work of art
Beautifully framed against a breathtaking landscape of pine-swathed mountains, Lake Como is famed for its atmospheric sense of calm. The wishbone-shaped lake is over 20 miles long, and is said to be one of the deepest in Europe – its bed is more than 200 metres below sea level. It’s also home to a collection of small towns and village, whose surrounding hills offer lovely walks and even lovelier views. Switzerland is only round the corner, too, so you can even cross the border for the day if you fancied.
Lake Como has been a popular holiday destination for aristocrats and the wealthy since Roman times – due to its beautifully kept public gardens, historic villas and dramatic views – so you may end up brushing shoulders with a few of the celebrities who own homes there, like George Clooney, Sylvester Stallone and Richard Branson. Bellagio is one of the most stunning lakeside towns not only on the lake, but in Europe. It’s known for its stupendous villas – particularly Villa Serbelloni – pretty cobbled streets and breathtaking views from its southern-peninsula positioning on the water.
Cadenabbia, Menaggio and Tremezzo
Menaggio is a lakeside hotspot is based on the western shore and sports a quaint old-town centre and a heavenly promenade. Just down the road is Cadenabbia, a tiny hamlet that’s an ideal base for exploring the region. Further down from here is Tremezzo, famous for its vibrant gardens bursting with colour and its mountain walking trails surrounded by olive and orange groves. The best way to explore the rest of the lake, and beyond, is by water – Varenna has transport links to Milan, the city of Como is a cosmopolitan wonder, and the boats can take you to must-see landmarks like the Villa del Balbianello and the Villa Melzi d’Eril.
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Across the water from Bellagio, on the mid-western shore of Lake Como is the pretty comune of Griante, Cadenabbia. It's been a popular destination for Britons since the 19th century - in 1891 it became the site of one of the first Anglican churches in Italy.
Beneath the Swiss Alps, the ancient town of Menaggio sits on the western shore of Lake Como. Retaining its medieval charm, Menaggio is packed full of beautiful views and historical points of interest, so make sure to take your camera. In the old centre, narrow streets lead to small squares. Potter around the town and browse shops selling knick- knacks, local produce or leather goods. While walking you might come across the Church of Santa Marta, housing works of art dating back to the 17th century, definitely worth popping in for a look-round.
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