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- 10 Aug 2020, 3 nights
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One of the most romantic destinations in Europe, Lake Como is set in the foothills of the Italian Alps just 50km north of Milan. The lake covers the area of 146 square kilometres and its shores are dotted with charming villages of cobbled streets and opulent villas. You can hop on a ferry and dart up and down the lake, making stops for gelato and Aperol spritzes along the way.
Dine like local resident George Clooney but on a backpacker’s budget at a Lake Como hostel providing complimentary breakfast, welcome drinks and a restaurant serving antipasti, risotto and fresh pasta. After a day on the water, an open-air terrace with its own vegetable garden might be the place for a nap, or you could sway in a hammock in a private garden. Some Lake Como hostels have rooms with balconies overlooking the water, while others have terraces where you can watch the sun set over the mountains.
The city of Como is the jumping-off point for lakeside adventures, with its charming medieval quarter, winding streets and funicular railway offering breathtaking views. In Menaggio, on the western shores of Lake Como, you can admire the extravagant summer villas of Italy's 18th and 19th-century aristocracy. Close to the Swiss border, it’s also a great place for hiking into the Alps. Known as the 'Pearl of Lake Como', Bellagio is where the lake splits at its centre and has luxurious villas and the famous Lido di Bellagio beach club.
A visit to Lake Como is all about leisurely days soaking up the sunshine as you wander through lakeside villages. The lake’s calm, clear water is ideal for windsurfing or a boat trip. Sailing from one end to the other takes around four hours. A visit to a lakeside villa with manicured gardens is recommended if you travel between March and November – top places are Villa Balbianello, Villa Melzi or Villa Monastero.
With lakeside hikes and winding cobblestone streets, travelling by foot or bike is the best way to get around. To hop over to surrounding villages, three types of boat criss-cross the lake – motorships, hydrofoils and ferries. This extensive network covers all three corners from Lecco to Como and Domaso. From Milan, there are three train lines connecting to the city of Como, arriving at Como San Giovanni or Como Nord Lago stations. Journeys take between 40 minutes and an hour.