Categories: Travel

First Taste of Lake Como – Menaggio, Italy

Welcome to Lake Como!

I’ve been itching with excitement to show you around!

Get comfortable, pour yourself a glass of wine (it’s Friday in the end, right?) and join me for a little virtual journey to one of the most beautiful corners of the world.

Lake Como is located in the North of Italy, so high up north you can actually see Alps in the vista of Lake Como. The lake lies on the borders with Switzerland and a lot of people cross over with their cars through the mountains. As I’ve heard from one Swiss couple we met there, it is quite the adventure in itself.

My arrival was less glamorous. I arrived with my husband in the train from Vienna to Italy. It was his birthday trip – a little tradition we now religiously guard. Instead of giving expensive birthday gifts, we book a surprise birthday trip to a new destination.

The night train from Vienna was fairly comfortable, even though probably the smallest enclosed place I’ve ever been.

We had our own ‘cabin service’ and could even order hot food, even though there was no restaurant carriage. We stocked up on wine, put the laptop on a charged and watched movies while we slowly moved towards Italy.

In Italy, we took a short hour journey from Milan to Varena, the entrance to Lake Como.

From Varena, you take a short walk to the ferry terminal down by the harbor and take a ferry to your final destination. Most hotels will be in Bellagio, Menaggio or Tremezzina.

All of these are located in the central part of the lake. If you go further south, you will have villages like Como or Leno, which I didn’t explore on this trip.

On the first day, we basically avoided rain by hiding out in the hotel and local bars. I will spare you the pictures, they would not show you the place for what it really is.

That brings us to Menaggio, the second stop on the journey.

It was quite the beauty.

The super speedy ferry services takes you very easily between the villages and it doesn’t cost a fortune.

Half way through the ferry ride I realised we got on a wrong one, heading out to Menaggio instead of Tremezzina, but it ended up being a blessing in disguise.

As we headed to the harbor, all of us tourists on board were throwing jealous glances towards the houses by the lake.

You must count yourself very fortunate to be able to live in a paradise like this one.

As soon as we got off the boat with our luggage, we headed out to the nearest restaurant by the dock.

It happened to be one with the best views.

While my husband puffed his birthday cigar after lunch, I took a quick stroll further down the promenade.

The further you go the prettier places you discover.

It was a very hot early autumn day, locals were passing by on their scooters, shouting in Italian and everything seemed so beautifully peaceful and crazy at the same time.

No matter how grumpy you are, I guarantee walking around Menaggio will put a smile on your face.

The central square was a short walk away.

In addition to a few hotels, we found an excellent restaurant and a really well stocked wine shop – shocker, I know. I do love my wine.

We bought a few bottles of locally made wine and even locally produced gin made from 30-40 different types of herbs.

After lunch and before dinner, we hopped into a taxi to check in our hotel and then headed back here for dinner.

The sun was setting down and the landscape completely changed.

For dinner, some locals recommended Il Ristorante de Paolo on the square, which was an excellent choice.

We booked a table and prepared for the feast.

First things first, birthday champagne.

My main course was a fish selection (can’t remember the proper dish name) – shellfish, scallops, swordfish and fennel.

Beautifully balanced dish and absolutely delicious.

My husband had beef with roasted potatoes and pepper sauce.

Equally delicious.

For dessert: panna cotta

The real fun came at the end of the evening when we found out there are only two taxi drivers in the whole area and they close their office hours around 10-11pm.

Our hotel was located between Menaggio and Tremezzina, not exactly a stroll away. Conveniently, our phones were also out of battery so we couldn’t even call one of the taxi drivers.

After a good hour of despair, one of the kind gentleman in a bar managed to track down a guy who drove all the way from Switzerland to drive us back to the hotel.

It was quite the adventurous day we could have wished for.

But there is a lot more to come!

Check back next week for another part of the adventure, this time we are taking a boat trip and checking out some properties of the rich and famous!

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