Last September, we spent 3 days in Bellagio, a beautiful tourist town on the banks of Lake Como. It was off season, so not as busy as I had read it might be, but there were plenty of people milling around. There was still a good buzz around the place.
The tiny town is situated at the tip of a long hilly outcrop between the two southern branches of Lake Como. Bellagio fact: it only has a population of around 200, compared to 900 beds for tourists!
The first thing to know about Bellagio, is that it is a bit of a pain to get to. We flew into Bergamo airport and Bellagio is then another hour or so drive. In fact, it is only about 30 miles away from the airport, but the nature of the windy and sometimes scarily narrow lakeside roads, mean that it is a time consuming journey. We booked a private transfer for about £60, although you can get there via train, and then ferry. We just wanted to get there ASAP though, so splashed out on a private taxi. This also meant we could relax after the flight and enjoy the breathtaking views as we edged closer to our destination.
We stayed in a tiny family hotel, Hotel Suisse, right on the banks of the lake and next to the ferry port. The hotel is very old, but is gradually being modernized. I hope they don’t modernize it too much though. I loved the period features and ancient furniture scatted around. The hotel was a piece of history in itself and very popular with tourists and locals it seemed, as the ground floor restaurant was always packed.
Our room over looked the lake which was worth paying a bit extra for as we woke up to these views (shame about the grey skies, but it was late September!).
Here are a few photos of what Bellagio has to offer. The town is known as the Pearl of Lake Como and we certainly felt like we had stumbled on something pretty special. The vastness of the surrounding mountains with the calmness of the glistening lake gave it an otherworldly feel. It was hard to believe you were so close to Milan and other bustling, cosmopolitan areas.
This particular bar could not have been any closer to the water and soon became our favorite afternoon wine stop. We sat there for hours admiring the views, people watching and chatting the afternoon away.
We spent one day travelling to other nearby lakeside towns. You can catch regular ferries (they take cars too) to many towns on the lake. From Bellagio, a ferry goes every 10 minutes or so and does a round journey to Menaggio, Varenna and then back to Bellagio. A return ticket was roughly 10 Euros per person.
You can easily spend a day or two to do in Bellagio itself, exploring the town, little shops and sampling the food and drink it has to offer. I would say that any longer and you may find yourself retracing your steps a little. The town itself is very small. That’s why we set off and explored some neighboring towns. Varenna is quite a bit bigger so has more to occupy visitors.
After spending a few days based in Bellagio, we caught a bus, then a train to Milan, where we spent a further night…but I will save Milan for another post! Ciao.