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3 Days on Lake Como

3 Days on Lake Como: A Perfect Itinerary for Your Weekend Escape

Are you ready to embark on a memorable journey around the enchanting Lake Como? With its picturesque towns, stunning landscapes, and rich history, Lake Como offers a perfect escape for a 3-day adventure. This itinerary is designed to make the most of your time on this Italian gem.

Where to Stay: 3 Days in Lake Como

As you prepare for this journey, finding the right accommodations is key to ensuring a memorable stay. For the first night, we recommend staying in the town of Como, where you'll begin your exploration.

Then, for the second night, Varenna, a charming village tucked along the lake's edge, offers a delightful setting to continue your adventure. Your choice of lodging can greatly enhance the experience of your Lake Como adventure.

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Day 1: Begin Your Lake Como Adventure

Scenic Como city view over tranquil watersGet ready for a captivating journey through one of Italy's most mesmerizing destinations.

Morning

Welcome to the breathtaking Lake Como! Whether you arrive by train, car, or boat, the magic of Como begins as soon as you set foot in this charming town. 

If you're arriving by train, Como's main station, Como San Giovanni Railway Station, offers excellent accessibility. A short walk from the station takes you right to the heart of the city.

Train arriving at Como station For those coming from other towns around the lake, you might find yourself arriving via ferry or a scenic drive. Regardless of your mode of transportation, Como is ready to enchant you.

Tips for the morning

  • Local Cafés: before diving into your exploration, grab a delicious Italian breakfast at a local café. Sip on a rich espresso and indulge in freshly baked pastries or croissants. Alternatively, opt for a traditional trattoria serving hearty breakfasts to fuel your adventures.
  • Historic City Center: stroll through its historic center and soak in the Italian charm. Narrow cobblestone streets, bustling squares, and artisan shops will greet you around every corner.
  • Piazza Cavour: a visit to Piazza Cavour is a must. This lively square is an ideal starting point for your day. You'll find an array of outdoor cafés here, perfect for people-watching or just soaking in the city's vibrant atmosphere.
  • Public Gardens: consider a leisurely morning walk in the beautiful public gardens, like the Giardini a Lago. These peaceful oases offer a serene escape and fantastic views of the lake. Immerse yourself in the lush greenery and maybe even enjoy a picnic with local delights.
  • Explore Local Markets: depending on the day of your visit, you might stumble upon the bustling market in Piazza Roma. This vibrant market is a treat for the senses, with colorful stalls selling everything from fresh produce to clothing and local crafts. Even if you're not planning to shop, it's a lively spectacle worth seeing.

Lunch

Head to one of Como's local cafes or trattorias to indulge in some authentic local cuisine.

a woman is eating pasta and drinking wineFor a taste of the region, don't miss the opportunity to try a plate of fresh pasta, perhaps paired with a delightful local wine, or savor a mouthwatering pizza. It's the perfect way to immerse yourself in the local culture.

Afternoon

After satisfying your appetite, it's time to dive into the historic center of Como. Visit the awe-inspiring Como Cathedral, known as Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta.

This architectural marvel is a fascinating blend of Gothic and Renaissance styles, and its intricate details will leave you in awe. Take your time to explore the church and the surrounding square.

Elegant Como Cathedral with a prominent green dome, a symbol of architectural beautyFollowing your visit to the cathedral, take a leisurely stroll along the enchanting Lungolago, the lakeside promenade. The inviting walk offers breathtaking views of the serene lake, where the surrounding mountains form a backdrop of remarkable beauty.

Enjoy the lush gardens that line the promenade, which adds to the charm of the area. As you walk, you'll understand why so many people fall in love with Lake Como.

Evening

By now, you may have already checked into your chosen accommodation in Como, whether it's a cozy bed and breakfast, a lakeside hotel, or a charming villa. As the sun begins its descent, head out for an unforgettable dining experience.

Cityscape with illuminated harbor, church, and Como lakeside by night

Choose a lakeside restaurant where you can dine on the terrace, indulging in a sumptuous dinner with a backdrop of unparalleled beauty.

Savor the local flavors and delicacies while watching the sun dip below the horizon, casting a warm and gentle glow on the calm waters of Lake Como. It's a truly romantic and magical way to end your first day in this Italian paradise.

Day 2: Discovering Bellagio

Bellagio town from lake view

Morning

Begin your day with the delightful ritual of breakfast. While some travelers enjoy the convenience of savoring breakfast at their cozy lakeside hotel, we recommend finding a charming bar or cafetteria along the shoreline for a more immersive local experience, especially if budget allows.

Here, you can relish a selection of freshly baked pastries, local cheeses, and aromatic Italian coffee while taking in the serene ambiance of Lake Como.

After a satisfying breakfast, make your way to the nearby ferry terminal, where the next chapter of your adventure begins. Step aboard a picturesque boat, and set out on a scenic journey to Bellagio. As you glide across the pristine waters of Lake Como, the captivating scenery unfolds before your eyes, with lush mountains, elegant villas, and charming lakeside villages coming into view.

The calm waves and gentle breeze create a serene atmosphere, providing the perfect opportunity for relaxation and introspection.

The picture showcases a busy street in Bellagio, with a lot of people walking down the narrow path and vibrant colors adding to the lively atmosphereOnce you arrive in Bellagio, you'll be greeted by its timeless beauty. Narrow streets lined with colorful buildings, charming squares, and inviting shops await your exploration. It's like walking into a postcard.

The town is relatively small, so you can explore it on foot. Admire the elegant, pastel-hued buildings adorned with blooming flowers. Meander along Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, which is lined with quaint shops selling local handicrafts, clothing, and artisanal products.

Lunch

For lunch, head to one of Bellagio's charming restaurants. With a focus on local cuisine, you can savor dishes prepared with fresh ingredients, including the lake's prized fish.

Scenic patio with tables and chairs, providing a delightful lunch setting under umbrellas at Bellagio with a beautiful lake view.Ask for a table by the lake if possible and indulge in a leisurely meal with a view. Make sure to try some fresh fish from the lake, it's a local specialty.

Afternoon

As you savor the enchanting morning in Bellagio, the adventure continues into the afternoon: you can choose to visit either Villa Melzi or Villa Serbelloni, as exploring both may require more time due to the extensive beauty they offer.

  1. Villa Melzi: known for its stunning neoclassical architecture and the peaceful beauty of its gardens. The villa is situated just a short walk from Bellagio's historic center, making it easily accessible.

    • Garden Walk: Spend time exploring the impeccably maintained gardens surrounding Villa Melzi. Stroll beneath ancient trees, where statues and monuments pay tribute to Italian and European figures, including Leonardo da Vinci. The lush gardens also feature exotic plants, Japanese maples, and rhododendrons, which bloom in spring with vibrant colors.

    • Chapel of the Cross: Don't miss the Chapel of the Cross within the garden. Its simple yet elegant design and serene location by the lake create a tranquil and contemplative atmosphere. The chapel is a wonderful place to sit and reflect on the beauty of the surroundings.

    • Lake Views: Throughout your visit to Villa Melzi, you'll have splendid views of Lake Como. The calm waters and the rugged beauty of the surrounding landscape offer photo opportunities at every turn.

  2. Villa Serbelloni: while Villa Serbelloni is a privately owned property and not typically open to the public, it is possible to visit the gardens and grounds by prior reservation or through guided tours.

    • Guided Tours: to explore the impressive gardens and terraces of Villa Serbelloni, consider booking a guided tour. These tours allow you to wander through the estate's extensive grounds and enjoy sweeping views of Lake Como, the town of Bellagio, and the surrounding area. Villa Serbelloni's gardens are a testament to meticulous landscape design and are often hailed as a horticultural marvel.

Evening

As the golden sun begins its descent behind the surrounding mountains, it's time to bid farewell to Bellagio and embark on a serene journey to Varenna. The most enchanting way to make this crossing is by taking a leisurely ferry ride. 

As you approach Varenna, you'll notice the soft glow of the town's lights welcoming you. For dinner, there are several delightful lakeside restaurants to choose from. Savor traditional local cuisine with fresh seafood dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. Varenna is known for its gastronomic excellence, and every meal here is a memorable experience.

After dinner, explore the narrow alleys and charming streets of Varenna, known for their rustic charm and delightful atmosphere.

Day 3: Savor the Magic of Varenna

Picturesque Varena Lake with vibrant buildings and boats

Morning

Your third day in Varenna opens up an array of delightful possibilities, tailored to your departure schedule. If you plan on a later leave, let the idyllic streets and attractions of this picturesque village work their magic on you.

Begin your morning with a leisurely stroll along the lakeside promenade, where you can soak in the tranquil views and the refreshing lake breeze.

Venture into Varenna's historic center, a labyrinth of narrow winding lanes and charming squares. Make a point to visit the church of San Giorgio, perched gracefully atop a small hill, offering breathtaking panoramic vistas of Lake Como and the encompassing mountains.

And what's a morning without a delectable Italian breakfast? Treat yourself to cappuccinos and freshly baked pastries at one of the cozy local cafés.

  • Option 1: Villa Monastero.

    Should your departure be scheduled for the later part of the afternoon, a visit to Villa Monastero is highly recommended. This historic villa is home to exquisite botanical gardens, boasting an impressive variety of plant species from across the globe.

    As you wander through the gardens, be prepared to be charmed by the enchanting views of the lake and the architectural splendor of the villa itself. Don't forget your camera; every corner of this place is a photo opportunity waiting to happen.

  • Option 2: Set Sail on Lake Como.

    For a completely different perspective of Lake Como, why not embark on a boat ride? Rent a rowboat or paddleboat, and head out onto the serene lake waters.

    Paddle at your own pace, immersing yourself in the unique experience of being on the water while being treated to the awe-inspiring scenery.

  • Option 3: Last-Minute Souvenirs.

    If your morning hours are somewhat limited, take your time to leisurely explore the charming shops of Varenna.

    Here, you'll discover delightful boutiques and artisan stores, perfect for collecting souvenirs like handcrafted jewelry, local artworks, or traditional Italian ceramics. It's a wonderful way to carry a piece of this enchanting village's memory with you.

Lunch

Regardless of the morning's adventures you embark upon, don't miss the opportunity to indulge in a delectable Italian lunch at one of Varenna's inviting restaurants. Relish in local dishes prepared with fresh, regionally-sourced ingredients that truly showcase the culinary prowess of the area.

Two hands holding red wine glasses overlooking beautiful Varenna from the lakeEnjoy your meal leisurely, paired with a fine glass of wine, and soak up the ambiance and flavors that are quintessentially Varenna.

Afternoon

As the afternoon approaches, it's time to prepare for your departure. Depending on your travel schedule and means of trasportation, make your way to Varenna's train station or ferry terminal.

This 3-day itinerary provides a glimpse of the stunning beauty and rich culture that Lake Como has to offer.

Be sure to adjust it based on your interests and preferred pace, and explore even more of this picturesque region at your own leisure. Lake Como awaits your discovery!

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