Lake Como: Varenna

The best part about living in Europe is our proximity to lots of wonderful cities where we can enjoy weekend breaks. That’s one of the main reasons why I still haven’t left London (except for the fact that my husband is here of course)!

In June 2014, we decided to go to Lake Como for the weekend, with our dear friends Leene and Toufic. Leene and I have known each other since we were 3. She moved to England with her husband Toufic for 12 months to do their masters so we decided to explore one of the Italian lakes whilst they were around. Leene and I both love food so we were ready to enjoy very similar things during that weekend break. We both did a lot of research about the different towns we should stay in or eat in so we went there prepared.

We booked a flat in Bellagio since it was one of the biggest towns in Lake Como. We arrived Milano Bergamo airport from London on a Friday morning. The buses to Bergamo train station were quite frequent from the airport so it was pretty easy getting there. However, going to Bellagio from Bergamo turned out to be a bit complicated. We had to take a train to Lecco (which runs once an hour only and we missed one because the boys were busy getting breakfast from McDonalds! I was not impressed!).

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From Lecco, we thought we could take the ferry to Bellagio but they weren’t running that day  so we took a bus from Lecco to Bellagio. As this was all unplanned, we had to try communicate with the locals using our non-existent Italian but we managed with a mix of English, French, Spanish and sign language. We eventually reached Bellagio and after a short walk and asking around for the name of our road, we decided to try get a taxi to the flat we booked. For some reason, there were no taxis at all anywhere near the town centre so I went to a hotel and asked them in the reception if they could kindly call us one. The lady was sweet enough to help us and not long after, we found a big Mercedes pull up with a casually, yet elegantly, dressed taxi driver walk out and help us with our small suitcases. His English was pretty good and he explained to us how the taxi system worked in Bellagio (they all charge a fixed rate of €10 per destination within Bellagio itself) and then mentioned a couple of restaurants he liked and places we should try. We reached the flat within 5 minutes, met the landlady, dropped off our bags, got changed and called back our taxi driver to take us back to the centre of town. Our plan was to visit Varenna since we had read nice reviews about it. We needed to take the ferry from Bellagio to Varenna.

Ferry selfie
Ferry selfie

Our time was limited since we were only around for one night so we needed to prioritise which places we wanted to visit first. Ideally, we would have loved to see Menaggio and Tremezzo too but the weather was not on our side that weekend so we stayed in Bellagio the second day.

We actually should go back and spend at least 3 nights in the area but we still made the most of the one night we had. In Varenna, we stopped for lunch as soon as we got there but like most European cities and towns, lunch service stops between 2PM and 7PM so we ended up in a cafe in with a stunning view on the lake and had pizzas and salads, with lovely wine.

This view makes up for average food
This view makes up for average food

I must admit that it wasn’t the best food we’ve ever had, but the fact that we missed lunch hour made our choices very limited so instead of having mediocre food indoors, we opted for quick food on the lake. Of course, after lunch Leene and I couldn’t wait any longer to have our first gelato so we went straight to the first gelataria we spotted when we were looking for a lunch place. We each got our own and decided to be proper tourists and enjoy the view with our delicious, creamy and divine desserts.

Do not disturb
Do not disturb

The views were simply breathtaking and I truly believe that Europe has the most romantic, peaceful and beautiful strolls in the world. We couldn’t get enough of them but we eventually decided to go for a very long walk around Varenna and see what else it had to offer. We got a bit lost in a way but that wasn’t too bad since we still enjoyed the views.

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I have many many more pictures to put up but I think it’s probably enough for now. As we had woken up at 4AM that day, our first day ended pretty early with dinner (take away pizza) in the flat and an early night. We wanted to feel ready and fresh for our second day in Bellagio.