5 days in Como, Italy

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Bmac
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Location: Seattle

5 days in Como, Italy

Post by Bmac »

My wife and two young adult children (14 and 16) will be spending 5 days in Como this summer. Besides exploring Como, taking the ferry to Bellagio and spending a day in Milan, what other relatively nearby locations would you recommend we visit? We will have a rental car. Anything less than 90 minute drive would be optimal, although would drive farther if worthwhile. Besides Bellagio (which my wife and I visited 20 years ago) which other villages on Lake Como accessible by ferry should we visit? Finally, any specific recommendations for things to do or see in Milan besides the usual major tourist attractions would be welcomed, especially for kids that will only tolerate so much church and museum time, lol.
livesoft
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Re: 5 days in Como, Italy

Post by livesoft »

I'd assign the task of figuring this out to the kids. Let me know what they come up with. Thanks!
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adamthesmythe
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Re: 5 days in Como, Italy

Post by adamthesmythe »

I wouldn't spend much time in Milan. There are better places to go for the history/ museums/ churches thing. I did drive once in Milan and I still have bad dreams about the experience.

Consider a drive up into the Alps on one of the alpine passes. Dramatic views and a huge change in geography over a short distance.

Make time for very leisurely lunches and/ or dinners. Expect traffic along the lakes to be very slow.
WVbaron
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Re: 5 days in Como, Italy

Post by WVbaron »

There is a great restaurant called Gato Nero (black cat) which is above the village of Cernobbio. It is close by Como. The restaurant has incredible views of the lake.

The menu is pricey but def worth it.

Enjoy your trip!
renue74
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Re: 5 days in Como, Italy

Post by renue74 »

The Lake Como area is really nice. We visited in the summer of 2015. I told my wife I want to spend summers in Como when I retire. :)
When I was there, I spend a couple days there...it's a much slower pace than the large cities of Italy. It was nice after we had spent so much time in Rome, etc.

The ferry is nice and you can visit various towns on the lake.

I agree that Milan is not great at history, but there are things you can do. "The Last Supper" by da Vinci is in Milan. The Cathedral.

You can take cooking lessons in Lake Como, which would be interesting to some.

I also took the train from Varenna to Tirano....and then to the Bernina Express train from Tirano to St. Moritz, Switzerland. Saw awesome glaciers and snow...the same day I spent in shorts while in Varenna.

The Bernina Express was awesome. Just sorta spent the day in St. Moritz. Ate some food, walked around....and then took the regular train back the same route to Tirano the next day.
rjbraun
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Re: 5 days in Como, Italy

Post by rjbraun »

We spent several nights in Varenna a few years ago and loved the relative peace and quiet. We found Bellagio a bit hectic and actually cut our day visit short to return to Varenna. Doesn't seem as if you are looking for lodging, but I think the hotel we stayed at, Hotel du Lac, may have outdoor dining for non-guests as well. We thoroughly enjoyed our daily breakfasts outside on the hotel's terrace. Apart from that not sure we ever dined in the restaurant as we found so many other tempting local restaurants nearby (sorry - don't recall the names, but Varenna is a small place). So, my suggestion is at least in part to visit Hotel du Lac for the view, though the food may also be fine, too.

http://www.albergodulac.com/en/restaurant/

As for Milan, if you want to visit the church that contains Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper" you will want to plan ahead for that as reserved tickets are required and go fast (at least they did when we visited). Not sure if this counts as "usual major tourist attractions"; feel free to ignore.
curmudgeon
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Re: 5 days in Como, Italy

Post by curmudgeon »

I would choose the ferry to visit Bellagio from Como; the road is quite narrow and would be a real pain in high season.

We found Lenno a bit lower key than some of the lake towns, and market day there can be interesting. Villa del Balbianello (not Balbiano) has a great location, and we found it more interesting than the more typical villas; you can walk or do water taxi from Lenno.

Lugano might be interesting as a sample of the Swiss-Italian side of the lakes, but I'm not sure if it's worth the traffic at the border crossing (maybe we hit a bad day, but crossing into IT was quite slow when we went that way).
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ResearchMed
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Re: 5 days in Como, Italy

Post by ResearchMed »

We are in Milano now, having just spent about a week in Torino.

The Duomo (Cathedral) is incredibly ornate outside, and worth a view.
And one can go up to the roof area, and get a nice view. Plus in your case, the children may enjoy the adventure.

DH just returned minutes ago from a trip up to the top of the Duomo.
There is a small archaeological area within the Cathedral, and that might be of interest.
(I don't like heights, so after a short visit inside the Cathedral, I went back to our hotel.)

We spent several days in Bellagio about 3 years ago and loved it there. It was beautiful to wake up each morning and have a view of the lake, which was incredibly peaceful first thing in the morning. (Not that it ever got hectic, but there was almost no motion anywhere very early; it was just so... beautiful :happy )

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straws46
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Re: 5 days in Como, Italy

Post by straws46 »

We were traveling through that area in March and stayed in Monza for a couple days rather than Milan and enjoyed the park and raceway and old town area. Also liked the American style hamburger joint. Compare and see what fits your preference.
eddot98
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Re: 5 days in Como, Italy

Post by eddot98 »

Besides the usual spots on Lake Como, we drove to Lugano, St Moritz through the Julier Pass, and the western side of Lake Garda. We did not have any issues with crossing the Swiss Italian border, but we were there in May.
fogalog
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Re: 5 days in Como, Italy

Post by fogalog »

I would not miss the Duomo in Milan. Simply spectacular, particularly as you emerge from a side street and seeing it glow brilliant white on a sunny day. Some amazing marquetry inside as well. Last time I was there (many years ago), it was covered in scaffolding; hopefully that has been removed by now.

On lake Como, as others have said, the best way to get around is by ferry / hydrofoil (more expensive). Driving a car on the narrow roads can be nerve wracking. Personally I'd skip the car completely and take the train from Milan to Como and take the ferries from there.

Since no-one else has mentioned it, I'd definitely recommend a stop in Varenna and a hike up to the Castello di Vezio. It's quite a hike but definitely worth it for the view alone. There is also a working falconry with demonstrations throughout the day. My kids - similar ages to yours - loved it.

Personally while a beautiful location and a lovely town, I think Bellagio is a little overrated. That said, if you go into the grounds of the Hotel Villa Serbelloni - very close to the ferry landing - you can walk around to the north point for some stunning views.

Good luck!
Scrapr
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Re: 5 days in Como, Italy

Post by Scrapr »

Lake Como? Drop in on George Clooney & Amal? "Since we were in the neighborhood...

There is a train route that goes past Lake Como called the Bernina Express. It looks awesome. We were close to pulling that off this year. Someday...

https://www.seat61.com/BerninaExpress.h ... _the_video
BelVita
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Re: 5 days in Como, Italy

Post by BelVita »

Take the train from Milano to Verona.
gtd98765
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Re: 5 days in Como, Italy

Post by gtd98765 »

If you are interested in more aquatic beauty after Lake Como, Sirmione on Lake Garda is nice too.
jimcrawford01
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Re: 5 days in Como, Italy

Post by jimcrawford01 »

There is a SeaPlane base on the waterfront . If small airplanes don't bother you, ask about an aerial tour. Take a Flight Instructor. That way you can make requests as to how long and where you would like to fly. It is a bit costly but is a very efficient and enjoyable way to tour the area.
Topic Author
Bmac
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Re: 5 days in Como, Italy

Post by Bmac »

Thank you for all the recommendations.
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