Our advice to discover Lake ComoIf I tell you Riva boats, luxurious villas, Dolce vita, George Clooney, what do you think of? Yes, we had the chance to discover Lake Como at the end of our stay in Italy. By the way, did you know that it was named one of the most beautiful lakes in the world by the Huffpost in 2014? We were staying in Bellagio, in the heart of the "Y" formed by the lake. I found it to be the perfect base for visiting Lake Como. It is indeed easy to get to and well served by boat to explore the other towns that house the shores of the lake.
After 2 weeks in Tuscany, it was a radical change of scenery that we made for our last 3 days in Italy. It was also cooler, especially at night, which is good! Follow us and discover this mythical destination.
Presentation Aqua & Co
A modern villa on the heights of Lake Como
Aqua & Co is a villa with a clean and modern design. The first floor is reserved for travelers, while the owners live upstairs. "Our" space consists of 3 beautiful private rooms with direct access to the garden and the pool. Each room represents one of the 3 themes: air, water, earth. This last one is materialized by a tapestry representing it at the head of the bed. For the little story the fire was planned for the common room but to find a pretty tapestry which represented the fire, raised it seems of the impossible.
The rooms can accommodate 3 or 4 people depending on the configuration. They are extremely well equipped. There are spaces to store your things, a desk, a bench at the foot of the bed, air conditioning if the heat is too high... Each room also has a large bathroom with a fully tiled Italian shower. There are no miniature soap dishes here, but containers filled by the owner when the tenants change.
Finally you also have a small garden table in front of your window door, ideal for breakfast.
For your convenience, it is important to note that parking spaces are available in the courtyard of the house.
As mentioned before there is a common room. This is where the breakfast buffet is served in the morning. In the summer, you can have it on the table in front of your room. In the winter, when it is impossible to eat outside, there is a big wooden table to welcome everyone for a convivial moment.
This is also where you will find the "trusty fridge". You can obviously put your own stuff there if you want to eat on the spot (I specify that there is no cooking plates so you have to prefer salads or other cold menus). We can also find drinks and some food like cold cuts and cheese. It is based on trust, each one notes on the paper provided for this purpose, hung on the side of the refrigerator, what he took. You will pay them when you leave.
It is also in this room that you will find, under the sink, the garbage cans for the selective sorting.
The second common space is of course the garden. It is a very beautiful green lawn in which it is very pleasant to walk barefoot to reach... The pool. It is also modern, with clean lines. The fact that there is no tiling around it and that it is immediately surrounded by grass contributes to its design. For your information, it is also treated in a natural way, without chlorine, so it is very pleasant to dive in after a big day of visits.
Finally, the garden offers a superb view on the star of the place: the lac de Côme!
Ideal location to discover Lake Como
As I said above, Aqua & Co is located on the heights of Bellagio, away from the crowds and noise of the city center. It is also this location that allows it to have this view of the lake.
However, if like us you do not want to use your car during your stay, you should know that it takes about 20 minutes to walk to the city center. The road is accessible but quite steep, so I would advise you against wearing 10 cm heels. And don't forget to recharge your cell phones or bring a flashlight if you come back at night because the road is safe but not lit.
Elena, the owner, is present at your arrival. She is a very warm person and you feel immediately at ease in the house. She takes her time to show us around Aqua & Co and gives us lots of advice on how to discover Lake Como. Moreover she has maps where she notes the points of interest as well as the restaurants. Last but not least, every day a nice gift is put on our pillow.
Elena also volunteers to make restaurant reservations if needed. For our last night she recommended Il Perlo Panoramico and we did not regret it. As the name suggests, it has a panoramic view from the terrace. The view is therefore exceptional.
Discover Lake Como: what to see? What to do?
An important point to mention when discovering the different towns along the lake: there are boat passes for a day. This is really the most convenient way to discover the wonders of the lake. You can get on and off the lake shuttles as many times as you like during the day. We took the 15 € pass that connects the towns in the center of the lake. If you stay longer and want to go further afield, there are longer passes with a wider range of activities. Ask at the pier closest to your place of residence.
As Aqua & Co is in Bellagio, it is impossible to discover Lake Como without making a stop here. The city center is quite lively and has many restaurants and/or bars along the steep streets, made of stone stairs.
The must-see here is a visit to the English-style gardens of Villa Malzi. It has the reputation of being the most beautiful villa on the lake so it would be a shame to miss it. And I confirm it is really sublime with a privileged access to the lake.
Don't forget to go to the end of Bellagio. There is a park that allows you to have a panoramic view of the lake because it is located at the junction of the famous Y of the lake. It is a peaceful place to take a break in the shade.
It is a charming village that deserves to be visited for a few hours. If, like us, you arrive in the morning, the flow of tourists is not yet there. It is the ideal time to enjoy its atmosphere and its walk along the lake.
Lenno is also home to Villa Balbianello: a house famous for having hosted the shooting of some Hollywood films such as Star Wars, Attack of the Clones and Casino Royal (James Bond). To get there, follow the lake, it is about 1km from the center. Then 2 possible ways :
- The first one is one kilometer long and goes around the hill and directly to the ticket office
- The second one which will take you to the top of the hill before going back down. It takes about 45 minutes of walking
We did both, starting with the longer one. It is a beautiful walk which climbs a little but it is the price to pay to have very beautiful views on the lake at the top. For the return after the visit of the villa we took the shortest one, it was time to eat! Concerning the villa we only visited the gardens because the entrance is quite expensive: 11 € the gardens and 22 € garden + house.
However, the gardens are already sublime and are worth the detour by themselves. Just like the exterior architecture of the house. It is really a jewel on the edge of the lake and it is easy to understand that it has welcomed many artists who came to seek inspiration.
After 1 hour of boat on the lake between the various villages, we arrive at Varenna. It is a superb panorama which offers itself to us since the boat. Indeed the buildings are very colored. There is a small air of the Cinque Terre. It is just as beautiful once we arrived. However there were a lot of tourists at the same time as us. It was difficult to circulate in some places because the streets are so narrow. We probably did not appreciate it at its true value. Maybe go in the morning like in Lenno for more tranquility. Nevertheless, it is worth stopping there because it is very pretty.
There is a castle on the heights which must also offer a very beautiful view on the lake. We didn't go for it because we had already done 15 km and we still had to go home!