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A jam packed day on Lake Como

It’s early April and the sun is already deliciously warm but the gentle breeze (la breva) that blows across Lake Como from the snow capped peaks of Mt Grigio means I am grateful for a light jacket as soon as I step into the shade. 

Del Lago di Como or Lario as the locals call it, is Italy’s third largest lake and one of the deepest in Europe (more than 200m).

The lake is shaped like an upside down Y. Our base was the charming town of Bellagio, which rests on the fork of the Y. The triangle that is formed between Bellagio and the two arms of the Y, which contain the villages of Menaggio and Verenna seemed to be the most popular and exciting area to explore.

The lake is efficiently serviced by a number of ferries that transport vehicles and people. We bought a one day pass for the central area that cost €15 pp for multiple rides and caught a ferry from Bellagio to Cadenabbia on the western bank below Menaggio.

Trawling the internet, Geoff had discovered a 10k walk from Griante to Colonno known as The Greenway. We set off from Cadenabbia heading south on a clearly marked route. We walked about 6 or 7 km’s to the town of Lenno. What a picturesque route with so much to experience. We abandoned the route here and instead went in search of their famous local olive oil known for its unique fruity and spicy blend. Chef Jamie reportedly orders it for his dishes.

Time for lunch, so we jumped onto the next ferry heading for Menaggio, which turned out to be another delightful village. Quieter than Bellagio, but with a vibrant square ringed with restaurants.

After a delicious meal we again hopped on a ferry. We crossed the lake and headed off for an afternoon of exploring in Varenna. This turned out to be a hectic tourist destination, packed with people enjoying the unseasonable warmth. This is a pretty and busy town. Much bigger than Bellagio. 

We set off in search of the Fiumelatte ‘milk river’ which is said to be the shortest river in Italy. It was quite a steep walk through the woods with great views of the lake. The day had warmed up considerably and it was tiring, especially after our exertions of the morning.

Disappointingly, the river, which only runs from March to October, had not yet started running, despite the melting snow. The journey wasn’t wasted though as we stumbled across a beautifully maintained cemetery with a heavenly view!

We headed back down to Varenna and enjoyed a Gelato while people-watching at the waters edge.

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