There are world-famous places that attract millions of tourists every year for their fascinating stories, for the historical, cultural and artistic riches they have, for the multitude of entertainment opportunities available there, for the simple meaning of certain places, or simply because it’s “cool” to travel in a particular country or city.
Rome, Paris , Berlin , Amsterdam and other European capitals offer all of the above, attracting more and more curious people and registering record numbers of visitors to their famous landmarks. Each of these destinations deserves to be visited at least once in order to discover and learn new things about history, art, or local culture, or simply for rest and fun.
But then there are the other places that do not appear in all the tourist guides, where dozens of planes full of tourists don’t land daily, where you can’t really visit lots of emblematic objectives such as the Colosseum, the Eiffel Tower or the Berlin Wall but which, with their simple beauty, natural surroundings and warm, soothing atmosphere, offer guests unforgettable experiences and invaluable memories. About such a place we are going to tell you today: Lake Como in Italy.
Our escapade on the banks of the beautiful Lake Como was part of a longer trip, where we visited Milan and the Swiss city of Lugano, finally reaching the shores of Lake Como, where our steps took us through three charming towns: Menaggio, Colico Piano and Lecco.
There is no customs office between Switzerland and Italy, both countries being in the Schengen area, only a traffic indicator tells you that you have crossed into the neighboring state, and we went on this route on a local bus, with a number and all, as if we would have traveled a few bus stops in a city.
Lake Como or Lago di Como, as the locals call it, is in the Italian region of Lombardy and is the third largest lake in the country, stretching over an area of 146 square kilometers.
Numerous boats run along and across the beautiful lake, linking the most important localities on the banks.
We first breathed in the warm and humid air and our eyes met the palm trees on the shores of Lake Como in Menaggio, a small town set on the western bank of the lake.
This place wasn’t on our travel list at first and could have been just a bus station where we changed a bus. We were coming from Switzerland from Lugano and were headed for Colico Piano, where we were going to spend a few days, and our route involved a change here.
When we arrived in Menaggio, we came up with the super inspired idea to continue our journey with a bus that left later in order to have time to explore the surroundings.
So we headed for the lake and walked along the shore, comforted by the sun but also chilled by the breeze, enjoying the enchanting views around us.
With a population of just over 3000 souls, Menaggio has that rustic, soothing, warm air of small towns where all people know each other and the community is united and helping.
The city’s central square and adjacent streets look great, the chic restaurants and terraces, the hotels and guesthouses, the sand-colored stone and the narrow streets take visitors on never-ending walks.
On the shore of the lake, a lot of birds that have found a home here make a terrible rumble, especially when the locals come to spoil them with delicious snacks.
The fascinating blend of elements we had seen before in more… ordinary combinations, gave us a very special feeling, with snowy mountains on the ridges and palm trees near the lake, swans, ducks, gulls and pigeons, boats in the shadow of the serene cliffs reflected in the water’s gloss – that place makes you feel special just because you are there.
We liked this beautiful town very much and we hope that in our next escapade through Italy we will be lucky enough to spend a few days here.
After our nice experience in Menaggio, we were looking forward to seeing our next destination – this time on the northern arm of the lake. So we took the bus and traveled further through the mountains and waters towards Colico.
The road is so narrow and the curves so tight that the coach driver had to honk before entering every curve to announce his presence on the road in case a car came from the opposite direction.
In some places, although in theory the road has two ways, it is necessary for the cars to stop in order to let pass those who come from the front – there are either traffic lights that allow one-way traffic or if there is a bit of visibility ahead, drivers give way to each other.
We stayed in Colico for two nights, so we could enjoy the beauty of the place. And it was the finest apartment we’ve found so far on Airbnb! It was in a building right in the central square of the city, just a few steps from the lake, so we had coffee in the morning with the swan, who was our neighbor.
If you don’t have an Airbnb account yet, use this link to sign up and get a discount starting at $40 for your first stay!
Colico lays at the foot of the highest mountain that overlooks Lake Como – Mount Legnone, reaching the altitude of 2609 meters.
Being one of the most important cities in the area, it is well connected both on water and on land – by train or bus – to nearby localities, but also to Milan and other major cities in Italy.
Long walks by the lake, picturesque scenery, the quietness around – all made us feel great here, especially because we needed rest and relaxation so much after visiting tens of landmarks in the big cities we visited.
At the southern end of Lake Como lies the town of Lecco, the capital of the Italian province with the same name, just one hour away from Milan.
From Colico we got here by train – the connections are very good and very frequent, at convenient prices.
Here too, the views of the impressive mountains and the lake are spectacular, the boats and the birds slide beautifully on the water not being bothered by each other, everything is absolutely wonderful – as we were expecting, being already in love with Lake Como.
The lakeside promenade, the beautiful architecture, the enchanting streets streaming between buildings and palm trees, the sunny and calm atmosphere – all make Lecco a wonderful tourist destination!
In 2013, Lecco was named the Alpine Town of the Year, and it’s no wonder – its beauty, the care it is arranged and maintained with, the impressive landscapes it offers – it really deserves the title!
After a good dose of wonderful landscapes and relaxation, we left Lecco heading for our last destination of this trip – Bergamo – a city that we knew nothing about before visiting it, but which surprised us very pleasantly – we’ll tell you everything about what we found there in the next article!