We spent a very relaxed four days in Lake Como, basing ourselves in the very picturesque lakeside town of Varenna. As always, I’d planned on taking a number of day trip during our stay. With so much pretty to see and places to explore, I didn’t want to waste a second.
Day Trip Options from Varenna
Prior to arriving in Varenna and falling in love with the tiny town, I was looking to take these day trips:
- The glamorous Bellagio for eating, drinking and shopping (by boat)
- The other middle lake town of Menaggio for more of the same (by boat)
- The Swiss lake town of Lucerne to dabble in a bit of Swiss culture (by boat to Mennaggio and then bus to Lucerne)
- The medieval hightop town of Bergamo for something a bit different for the day (by 2 trains)
But what about seeing Varenna?
Once we were in Varenna it was clear that Lake Como required more relaxing and way less ‘trying to fit too much into our days’. While multiple days trips would have been enjoyable, we would have had no time for the real pleasures of the area:
- Relaxing with a cocktail or a gelato at one of the bars along the lake
- Climbing up the hill to see the Castello di Vezia for even better views higher up
- Enjoying cruisy mornings in our apartment with beautiful lake views
Cutting down on the day trips meant more time in Varenna. It was easy to choose which ones to cut – we would stick to the three middle lake towns and save the other towns for another trip. Because let’s face it, there’s always another trip!
How we actually spent our four days in Lake Como
- Day 1 – arrival in Varenna in the late afternoon by train from Milan. The afternoon was spent settling in and the evening, wandering around the laneways in town
- Day 2 – a morning walk along the lake to Fuimelatte and half day visit to Bellagio by ferry
- Day 3 – a morning trip to Lecco by train for groceries and shopping. Then, a lunch time walk up the hill to Castello di Vezia to see the castle and the Birds of Prey presentation. Dinner was at the fancy but oh-so-worth it Al Prato Restaurant
- Day 4 – a half day trip to Menaggio and a relaxing final evening in Varenna
Getting to and from Varenna
The easy access to Varenna by train was one of the reasons for choosing Varenna as our base. The train line passing through Varenna starts in Milan and is an hour long journey. Varenna’s train station is called Varenna-Esino and is a tiny, two track station.
Arriving in town, you’re likely be amongst a crowd of other pleasure seekers, so follow the crowd down the hill towards the harbour or your accommodation. To reach the ‘busiest’ part of the town, you can follow the pathway along the water or the main road.
Where we stayed in Varenna
Choosing a place to stay in Varenna was fairly difficult and expensive! We were visiting in May, so I thought the prices would be less than they were. We ended up paying 670 euros for four nights, which is above my typical price range. But this was the first time I stayed in an apartment with mountain and lake views.
The apartment had a main bedroom and a sofa bed. It was very spacious and to be honest, its views made me book it. And I can honestly say the views were even better in person than in the photos. There are even lake views from the toilet! The accommodation was ‘Property ID 1072851‘ booked on HomeAway.