Where do I begin this post? I guess we can start with the Why. In 2019, I booked two back to back weddings- one in Italy and one in Scotland. Needless to say, when the world shut down in 2020, this trip was forever canceled as those weddings pivoted to more local affairs. Since then, I couldn’t get the trip we planned out of my head so in 2022, we finally flew to Lake Como. This was Ben’s first time to Italy so to see him lean in to the pasta and slow living was a dream. Below was our Italian vacation itinerary for all those wanting Lake Como travel tips!
We flew from IAD to Milan (by way of Lisbon). It was a 10pm flight so we woke up in Lisbon with just a short trip to Milan. Once we landed, there are a few ways to get to Como: rent a car, bus + ferry combo or train. We did none of those and pre-hired a Black Lane car. It was about $200 one way but by far the easiest way to get to Bellagio and very stress free. We decided to stay in Bellagio because it seemed a good jumping off point to all the cities we wanted to visit (Varenna, Menaggio, Leno and Tremezzo). Each ferry was only about 10 minutes to everything. We also decided to stay in this AirBnB because we wanted a more authentic experience and since it wasn’t our honeymoon, we didn’t want to splurge when we would be mostly out on the lake anyways. The location was magical and we heard live Opera and church bells outside of our balcony. Our first night we ate at Babayaga mostly out of convenience.
We woke up and had breakfast at Bar Pasticceria Rossi before catching the ferry to Varenna. The ferry system is fairly easy. The posted schedule I found a bit confusing but there’s always someone at the ticket desk to tell you which ferry is best and what dock it leaves from. The ferries in the morning are usually on time but we found afternoon ones to be a touch late and super crowded. Once we arrived, we toured Villa Monastero and I snapped a few images of my darling friends Rachel and Aaron on their honeymoon! We caught lunch in town before heading back for some Bellagio shopping. That night, we ate inside Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni and had fresh lake trout!
We woke up to another beautiful morning and decided to grab breakfast at a cafe downstairs. Breakfast in Como is mostly baked goods and coffee so if you’re looking for an omelet you might be out of luck. We walked to Villa Melzi d’Eril and enjoyed the grounds for the afternoon before catching lunch at Roma E Gusto which was amazing. We then boarded our private boat around 3! We used Filippo Barindelli Barindelli Taxi Boats and we cannot recommend them enough! If they’re booked, Lake Como Boat is also lovely but make sure to book in advance! We did 3 hours, brought our own champagne and made sure to swim. Afterwards, we got dinner at La Punta and enjoyed the sunset.
It has always been my dream to shoot at Villa Balbianello. Star Wars Episode II had a few scenes there and it is very much other worldly. If you plan to shoot, I would suggest going right when it opens and you have to book a permit ahead of time (email them directly). It’s a bit of a walk (around 20 minutes mostly uphill) but it was well worth it; you can also arrive by boat! We met up with Konstantyn and Mariya for a few photos to commemorate the trip before grabbing lunch together. We took a LONG nap after a long day of modeling and grabbed Bistro Antichi Sapori while listening to a live church concert before bed.
For our final day in Como, we decided to ferry over to Villa Carlotta. We wandered though the garden before having lunch at Grand Tremezzo. We wanted massages but sadly, the spa was fully booked! Villa Sola Cabiati was also on our list but we were so full from lunch by the pool that we headed back to Bellagio! Our final meal was at Dolce Vita. While the decor wasn’t our favorite, it was the best meal we had all week!
Our final day was a travel one. After a farewell coffee, we grabbed a BlackLane back to Milan to head to Scotland for our second week of travel! Ben and I agreed that the length of time in Como was perfect but had we another day, we probably would’ve relaxed on the beach (since all beaches in Italy must remain public) or rented and drove our own boat! I hope you enjoyed all the recs!