Five things to see in Lake Como
Think of Lake Como and the well-travelled will envisage a stunning, tranquil lakeside scene, with the Swiss Alps dominating the background. The well-heeled will think of the ornate, historic Italian villas, and the well-informed will recall Lake Como's most famous resident, George Clooney. Whichever reason attracts you, the northern Italian destination is impossible to resist, displaying Italy's finest traits of refinement and natural beauty in a secluded setting.
The vast stretches of lakeside views and wealth of outdoor, culinary and cultural activities means it's hard to have anything less than a spectacular visit, especially in the spring and summer months, when the flora and fauna add vibrant colours to the already-perfect scenery.
If you truly want to make the most of a few days in Italy's best-known playground, here are the Flexicover team's must see sights.
Villa del Balbianello, Lenno
If Lake Como was encapsulated in a single scene, it would be that of Villa del Balbianello and its verdant gardens rising up the foothills on the lake’s shore. The 18th century villa, which has featured in Star Wars and James Bond, is one of the lakes most visited, well known places, with tours of the interiors booking out well in advance. So if you go, make your arrangements beforehand and be sure to visit on a Tuesday or weekend, when you can amble from the luxury hotspot of Lenno thanks to an open route from the lakeside pathway.
George Clooney’s house, Laglio
There’s an irony that the place that George Clooney bought for seclusion and tranquillity now has a 4.6 star rating as a tourist attraction on Google - even if many of these aren’t serious (“Famous actor George Clooney makes a terrible toast”, begins one). The elegant mansion was snapped up soon after Clooney visited the area for Ocean’s Twelve in 2004. Over a decade later and the impressive mansion is the main attraction on many a boat tour, which may also take in other famous residences including those owned by Silvio Berlusconi and Sting. Call it cheesy, but having these houses pointed out on a boat tour is simply part of the Lake Como experience.
Villa Carlotta, Tremezzina
This 17th century villa offers an unsurpassed view of Bellagio, but the 70,000 sq metres of garden and museum will keep your attention within its walls. Named after the princess who received it as a wedding gift from her mother, it was Carlotta’s new husband Georg that transformed the area into the horticulturalist’s dream that it is today. If you’re looking for a last minute option of somewhere to head over the next few weeks spring is a perfect time to catch the rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolias in bloom.
The view from Pigra
Pigra stands on the west side of the lake and nearly 3,000ft above sea level, so it isn’t the most accessible of villages. But to make it a little easier to visit access is via one of the steepest cable cars in Europe. The five-minute ride pulls tourists to its very top, offering a breathtaking view of the lakes. Soak up the atmosphere and survey the expanse of the lake before descending to the lakeside town of Colonno. As it’s a two-hour hike, there’s surely a deserved glass of Prosecco at the end of it.
Botanic Gardens, Varenna
Feeling flush? Book a stay at Hotel Villa Cipressi in order to spend time in one of the lake’s oldest estates. If you can tear yourself away from the lakeview jacuzzi (the Italians are all about La Dolce Vita), the Botanic Gardens is its main draw. Open to the public too, it’s a shining example of the manicured, luscious gardens that give the area a high-end feel. Step down the tiered terraces all the way to the lake’s shore, while admiring the array of rare and popular plants and flowers. If ever there was a place to stop and smell the roses…
So wherever you plan to head to this year it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.