You have limited time and are on a tight budget due to all the money you have spent shopping in the expensive fashion capital – Milano, yet you want to make the most of your weekend away from the city’s bustle; what do you do?
Travel to the seductive Lake Como.
Lago di Como is an hour worth train-ride to the north of Milan and is adjacent to the Alps. In my opinion, €9.60 one-way train ticket to experience this magnificent marvel is as cheap of a deal as one could avail. Let me guide you to make the best out of the Lake Como experience in just €25 where you get to cover four cities as well as enjoy a long and relaxing ferry ride with the Alps view in just one day!
There are several train stations that get you to Como from Milan. I picked Como San Giovanni only to get there and realize that Como Nord Lago was closer to the ferry harbor (at P.za Covour). The earlier you leave Milan, the more you could cover in a day. The information desk that opens at 9 am at every railway station is very helpful and so buying tickets isn’t a hassle at all, although, I recommend booking earlier (feel free to email me with questions). At the harbor, the ferry schedule and Como map helps you navigate through your day so be sure to ask for those free brochures. I bought my round-trip €25 ticket to cover the three biggest cities of Lake Como – Bellagio, Varenna and Menaggio out of the option of 40+ cities on the route. However, due to time constraints, I never made it to Menaggio. I am sure that if I chose a faster ferry for a little higher cost, I’d have covered it all; but no regrets, the slower route is more scenic as you get to hear the calming sound of the waves of the 1,300 ft deep lake and see the horizon painted with both craggy and gentle Alps.
For half an hour I wandered around the town of Como which was relatively quieter in the morning and had the most beautiful architectural structures. For a person to stroll around the town in their limited time, I recommend my two top picks – The Museo Archeologico for the history lovers and the Cableways Rope ride to get a spectacular top-down look of the Alps.
On your way to Piazza Cavour, you may see a beautiful statue of Volta surrounded by numerous outdoor restaurants. Two minutes down the lane, we reached the harbor at P.za Cavour and bought our ferry tickets there itself. I was awestruck at the picturesque view at that point itself. Clear water with resting and restless ferries, motor-boats, jet skis, and kayaks, and the Alps surrounding them in the background like a blanket; Oh, sweet and overwhelming nature.
Hopeful tourists from all over the world were stranded in the deep blue lake for as many hours as there were happy smiles and constant fluttering of expensive cameras. I felt once again, like I was living. I almost forgot how much I missed the sound of silence, the look of serene and the captivation of what was beyond my understanding. For 22 stops and two hours before I made it to Bellagio, I felt the wind against my face and let the sun tan my already bronze skin. There were suddenly no worries in the world.
Every shore that our Captain led us to, was a shore worth breathing in; every island with its own unique essence. Even two hours weren’t enough for the views that I had the ferry to be thankful for, but alas, I had to eventually get off that damn thing.
Bellagio – a city as beautiful as its name hard to pronounce; trust me, it took me 20 times to get the hang of the pronunciation in Italian. Bellagio stole my heart before I had words to speak and it had time to try. I call it the ‘Morocco of Italy’ because of its narrow passage walkway channels with colorful antique walls. With the few high end cars that I saw there, it all made sense – it wasn’t for everyone to afford. Walking up the pebble stairs and having wooden window frames on both my sides, I noticed that many artists thrived here. Art galleries with free entrances were everywhere! Considering how relaxing the atmosphere was, people were ought to enjoy the sun tan, wine and private beaches. Bellagio is famous for its huge Villa Melzi Gardens with a range of exotic plants and sculptures assembled form the early 19th century. Then there is also the Villa Serbelloni Park which is owned by the Rockefeller Foundation.
I didn’t feel like one and a half hour was enough for Bellagio but I realized that if I had to cover it all in a day, I’d most certainly have to rush. So I hopped on the ferry and got off at Veranno in about 22 minutes. The prettiest city of all along Lake Como where people were having their weddings and Hollywood actors and actresses owned villas – Veranno. How I was bound to get lost in this city with a romantic promenade and a dreamy vibe. I had my late lunch here with a great lake side view and free wifi. Swimmers took it as their paradise and kayaks and surf boards were all over the place. I didn’t have my snorkel and swim wear on me but I still managed to dip my legs in the cold water without wetting my knee length dress. If I had more time, I would’ve hiked the famously recommended Castello di Vezio (Vezio Castle) which is a 20 minute trail to the ruined hilltop castle in the one-chapel hamlet of Vezio.
I let live music and heavenly scenes sink in before I took the last ferry back to Como at 4.30. If my plans weren’t this spontaneous, I’d have definitely covered Menaggio too in the time I had. But like they say – ‘whats meant to be, will be’. With Chris Buckard‘s Under an Arctic Sky Spotify playlist and the lingering rich sunset, I made it back to the reality. From Como, just in time for the last train to Milano at 8 pm, I fled the town filled with wonder, wanderlust and peace. Since, then until now, whenever I close my eyes, Lake Como gently kissing the Alps is all I see.
*All the pictures in this post are original and subject to claimed but not legal copyrights. The cameras used to capture these pictures are Canon EOS 50D and iPone 7. For more information, contact me via email or leave your comments in the section below. Please feel free to provide feedback or just share your thoughts! 🙂