An easy half hour train ride from Milan, Lake Como is worth seeing for a day out if, like me, you don’t have time in your schedule for a longer visit. EuroCity and Regionale trains arrive at Como San Giovanni station and from there it’s a short stroll down to the lake shore.
From there, you can take a boat ride onto Lago di Como. If you only have a day, an express boat will save you time. I took one to Bellagio, paying just under 15 Euros; there’s a supplement for the fast boat which bumps up the price by about half. The vessel makes a few stops as it heads for this pretty village, passing George Clooney’s Villa Oleandra in Laglio on the way.
On a sunny day, with the snowcapped peaks of the Alps in the background, it’s a beautiful ride. Sit on the left hand side of the boat to get the best views as you aren’t supposed to switch seats once underway.
In Bellagio itself, there’s an attractive waterfront with gardens overlooking the lake and the Alps. Cafes line the street behind. You’ll pay a premium to sit and look at this view, but prices aren’t exorbitant.
I wanted something a little different, and had lunch at Cava Turacciolo. It’s a bar serving food, crammed full of bottles of wine from all over Italy. I’m not a wine connoisseur but they indulged my inappropriate choice of spumante without making me feel it wasn’t suitable. I didn’t care – it was like drinking alcoholic honey – and I really couldn’t resist a second glass.
To walk off lunch, I climbed the steps up to the main street, not as tough as it looked as the steps were shallow. At the top, there were plenty of shops to browse, including several selling silk, which is a speciality of Como. There’s also a church and tower.
On account of the extended window shopping, I didn’t have time for the gardens for which Bellagio is known, such as the Villa Melzi D’Eril. I caught a glimpse of it on the bus back to Como, a much cheaper option than the boat at less than 4 Euros. Sit on the right hand side when you return to Como for the best views as it hugs the lakeshore most of the way back.