Overlooking one of the most scenic parts of Lake Como, holidays to Menaggio invite you to enjoy a picture-postcard town, heavenly waterfront and laid-back atmosphere.
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.
Lake Como's best angle
Along the front of the lake, the elegant promenade hosts fountains and fir trees – it’s the perfect place to settle in for a coffee or ice cream in one of the many bars overlooking the water. Go one step further and rent a little boat for the afternoon, to experience Lake Como from its best angle. For days when you actually want to take a dip to cool off, pay a visit to the town’s immaculate public lido or venture further north for pebble beaches.
Out and about
• Boat trips
• Bike hire
• Tennis courts
• Chocolate museum
Things to See and Do in Menaggio
Menaggio has a local lido just 10 minutes' walk from the centre. The lido is made up of a large, sandy beach area and sunbathing lawns. It has two large pools, the smaller of which is ideal for kids, and has easy access to the lake.
What you'll find
Just to let you know, the lido charges for entry, sun loungers, parasols and compulsory swimming caps if you haven’t bought your own. There’s a restaurant and snack bar on site, too, where you can pick up delicious light-bites, homemade ice cream, fresh fruit and cocktails.
Catering for all
The lido is wonderfully family-friendly, with a kid’s playground and beach volleyball court for hire. For an extra level of indulgence, upgrade to the deluxe premium beach - a garden space dotted with white gazebos with mattresses, privacy curtains and tables.
On Friday nights from June to September, you can shop under the stars at the weekly street market. This is the perfect chance to purchase bargain souvenirs from artisans, or eat your way around the tasty food stalls.
There are a number of mid-range options for shopping around Menaggio. You’ll mainly find shops of local craftsmen and retailers selling shoes, clothing and home goods. A pretty little shop called Coccio, near the bus station, sells a lovely collection of gifts, Murano glass, silk scarves and more, so you're sure to find the perfect memento of your holiday.
On a quiet evening, pick up a couple of scoops of gelato from Gelateria Edo, in Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi, and go for wander around the town. Walking along the shoreline and looking out over the water at night is the best way to soak up of the feel of Lake Como.
For a fun evening of drinks and a bit of atmosphere, stick to the local restaurants, which come into their own after last orders. Most places are full of jazzy lakeside ambience, fuelled by a few after-dinner cocktails and interesting conversations.
There's a range of fantastic eateries in Menaggio. From the bustling hotspots, just off the main square and with views of Lake Como, to the tucked away trattorias further up the hill, which are quieter and part of the local food scene. At every turn, you'll find traditional Italian dishes, homely family-run establishments and the odd gelato shop tempting you inside.
Local flavours at Trattoria La Vecchia Magnolia
Well-liked by the locals, Trattoria La Vecchia Magnolia offers simple yet delicious Italian food with friendly service. This a hidden-gem of a place tucked away from the main areas. Fresh fish features heavily on the menu - and the stuffed ravioli with shrimp and scallops comes highly rated. This place is roughly 25 minutes' walk uphill from the Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi, so it might not be a good choice for those with mobility issues, unless you can arrange a taxi.
Popular pizzas at Osteria il Pozzo
Just off the main square by the waterfront, Osteria il Pozzo is a classic Italian restaurant that's ideal for a tasty pizza before an evening walk along the promenade. It's a first-come, first-served kind of place and tends to get very busy, so timing your arrival for when it opens is a good idea. And you won't be left hungry here, as portion sizes are incredibly generous - and excellent value for money.
Family fare at Ristorante Il Vapore
Run by a mother and son duo, the small but deservedly popular Ristorante Il Vapore is another spot set back from the main hub, nestled in a corner of Piazza Tommaso. It stands out with a compact menu of authentic and straightforward local cuisine at reasonable prices. The friendly ambience coupled with quality speciality dishes keeps this place booked up in advance, so making a reservation as soon as you can is strongly suggested.
Walking around Menaggio is the perfect way to take in this picture-perfect lakeside town. Practically made for leisurely strolls, the town is divided into an upper part, characterised by medieval alleys, and a lower section overlooking Lake Como.
Using the public boats is a much recommended way to get around easily and take in all that Lake Como has to offer. They depart from the signposted waterfront area of Menaggio on a regular basis.
The nearest train stations are Lugano (27km away), Como (30km) and Varenna Esino (4km), which is on the opposite side of the lake, so you would need to take a ferry over.
The C10 bus service for Menaggio stops outside the bus station. Make sure to buy your ticket before boarding at the station bar or at the news kiosk.
Menaggio is in a perfect location for exploring walking routes from other villages along Como's shoreline, as well as its own. Lots of popular routes here are signposted, and they range from gentle strolls to steep hikes - like trekking up to the panoramic summit of Monte Grona. Set against the rugged foothills of the Alps, not to mention the wonderful sunny weather, this place really is ideal for exploring on foot.
La Crocetta walk
This easy walk promises superb views of Menaggio and the lake. Catch the C12 bus up to the tiny village of Croce - the highest village in the area. Here you'll find a 16th-century square and one of the oldest golf courses in Italy, the Menaggio-Cadenabbia Golf Club. Head in the direction of the golf course and, a little further along, turn left onto Via per la Crocetta, leading you to La Crocetta. Look out for the network of WWI trenches that were part of the defense against German attack along the Swiss-Italian border.
Valley walk from Menaggio
Wind your way to the upper part of town, referred to as Castello. Once you reach the marked entrance for Parco Val Sanagra, take path no. 4 and enjoy the shift in surroundings. Cross age old stone bridges, potter past a handful of farms and keep following the path, which runs mainly beside the crystal-clear waters of Sanagra Fume. A good spot for a picnic lunch is at Sass Corbee, where the river turns into rapids, beating against large boulders.
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