Once I saw pictures of beautiful villas nestled in the hills surrounding Lake Como, I knew we had to work Lake Como into our three week Europe itinerary.
Getting to Lake Como: Direct train from Milano to Varenna only runs every two hours from the Milano central station and took an hour, so check the timetable before you go. We got our one-way tickets from a vending machine at the platform of Milano Central. As we found out later, we should have bought our return ticket too even it wouldn’t have saved us money. Since there is no ticket machine in the small train station in Varenna, we bought our return ticket at a travel agency in Varenna town.
Cruising: We bought a day pass for 15 euro each. The pass allows us to hop on and off the ferry throughout the day. In retrospect, however, we would have saved money by purchasing single tickets, as we barely had enough time to see three towns in one day: Varenna, Bellagio, and Menaggio.
Our original plan was to hike up to Castello di Vezio and get a bird’s eye view of Varenna, but we had sore legs after two weeks of being on the road, so we decided to take a stroll around this small town instead.
We passed by Villa Monastero but didn’t want to pay the ~7 euro entrance fee to go inside, as we feel that there are other attractions in Varenna (as well as other towns) to keep us occupied.
We also took a stroll at Lover’s Walk. it was a very short walk but view was gorgeous!
When it was time for lunch, we found a lakeside restaurant to rest up before we head to the pier for some town-hopping.
After our pizza and risotto lunch, it’s time to hop on the ferry to see other towns!
First up was Bellaggio. It was livelier than Varenna but more touristy. After we docked, we took a stroll at the garden on the right side of the pier.There are quite a few souvenir stores and restaurant choices. We then followed a cobblestone path to a smaller pier, and enjoy the view of colorful houses the whole way.
Our next stop was Menaggio, which is another quaint town similar to Varenna. Since I was having a lingering flu I caught from Paris, we found a pharmacy in Mennaggio for some cold medicine.
The time went by fast. We didn’t have much time to explore Mennaggio before it was time to head back to Varenna for train to Milan.
Lake Como was definitely worthwhile day trip from Milan. We just wish we had started the day earlier!
This is one of our posts for our whirlwind trip to Europe. For more posts, please see:
Afterthought: How I almost lost all the pictures in this post
I really loved our pictures from Lake Como and still shudder at the thought of almost losing all of them. First, if you have taken metro in Italy (or France or perhaps other parts of Europe too), you would know that there are buttons inside the train you can push to open or close the metro doors. So let’s say if I got on the metro and my boyfriend was running behind, I could push the button to keep the door open for him.
On our way back to Park Hyatt Milano, when we were steps from getting on the metro, there were two teenage girls standing on each side of the door. “Come on in!” They waved at us cheerfully, pushing the buttons to keep the door open. As we rushed in, I could feel their hands on me as if trying to support me. Then my boyfriend caught my camera, which apparently just fell from my crossbody bag. By then the girls has gotten off the train. It was only then we realized the two “friendly” girls were trying to steal my camera. They must have seen the camera strap poking out of my bag and pulled it out, Luckily for me, they didn’t grab my camera tight enough so it fell and was caught by my vigilant boyfriend.
I thought I was being safe by wearing a crossbody bag so I can have my belongings in front of me. After the incident, we were extra careful about not letting anyone getting close. I was also glad that I had just backed up my pictures just that morning. If I hadn’t backed up my pictures and they got my camera, I would have lost all the pictures taken on the trip. it gives me chills just thinking about it.