Lake Como Vacation Guide
Updated: Jul 10, 2019
Oh, what a fantastic trip this was! Lake Como and all of the darling surrounding villages on both the Italian and Swiss sides are truly something to behold. Each with their own unique and charming feel.
We took the fairy to see a few different villages, we hiked, we swam, we ate and we drank delicious wine! Johnny's favorite part of every day was an afternoon gelato treat.
We stayed in the small quiet village of Menaggio. This was an excellent place to stay with family. It is small and charming and quiet, with lovely restaurants and shops around every corner. With our villa directly across from the lake, we got to enjoy several dips in the brisk lake water and marvel at the moonlight on the lake after the sunset each evening.
If you're considering a visit to Italy and Como is not on your list, I urge you - Add it now!
We flew direct from Miami to Milan & rented a car. Our first few days were spent visiting with family friends on the Swiss/German border - and then we drove through the beautiful winding mountain roads to make our way to Menaggio, the village where we stayed on Lake Como (the drive is breathtaking - in more ways than one - some of the hairpin turns look right off the side of mountains, so make sure whoever is driving has SKILLS).
We stayed in a private villa right off the town piazza directly across from the lake. It was incredible. Please leave a comment if you'd like information on the villa! I'd be thrilled to connect you with the owner.
Where to Eat
These restaurants were walking distance from our villa - and pretty much any where else in the main Menaggio village.
Osteria Il Pozzo - Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi, Menaggio, CO., 22017, Italy -- It is small, and atmospheric both inside and out on the patio. Charming and darling! The owners are Marco, the chef, and his wife Stefania. They offer flavorful local cuisine & are one of Menaggio’s best restaurants.
Ristorante La Terrazza - Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi, Menaggio, CO., 22017, Italy -- An informal restaurant in the middle of the Piazza. The outdoor dining is in the heart of the village with views of the lake. Good food & moderately priced, the serve lunch & dinner as well as coffee & Italian breakfast.
Manzoni Pasticceria - Via P.zza Grossi, Menaggio, CO., 22017, Italy -- This pastry shop is worth visiting, it is touted as the BEST bakery on the lake. Take your time to look at the coffered ceilings in this several century old business. They are known for their Maritozzi. It is a dreamy doughnut that is filled with many varieties of jams and custards.
10 Minute Drive from Menaggio main Piazza, my favorite meal of our entire stay was at La Baita.
La Baita Ristorante - Via A Wyatt 60 Paullo, Croce, Fra. Menaggio CO., 22017, Italy Tele: 011-39-0344-32195 -- This is a 10 minute drive from the main Menaggio Piazza and the drive itself is worth the journey. Through very narrow winding dirt roads up the mountain, you will pass views WWI trenches en route. Marissa, the owner and lives on the second floor. Michele is her son, and chef, while Nadia is her daughter-in-law and server. Your delicious meal will be complemented by the most incredible views of the lake, time out your reservation for sunset if you can. Arrive hungry! You will start with appetizers where they will start bringing out tons of delicious dishes to whet your appetite. Their Cippolinis are the absolutely best you will ever taste. The next dish is the pasta: where you must try Polenta Unca. This dish is a speciality of the lake, Polenta with heaps of butter and cheese. The hand ground polenta is served out of a communal bowl and your server will circle your table offering everyone heaping spoonfuls. After this course, you will be offered a meat course. The meat choices were just as mouthwatering as the first two courses, we came with a large group and no one was disappointed by their choice. For dessert, try ‘Sorbetto di Mele Verde with Calvados Liqueur’. Green Apple sherbet with Pear liqueur. Yum. This is a MUST to visit, I would eat here daily if I could, I would choose it as my final meal. I'm telling you, if you are anywhere within a few hours of this restaurant you must go.
Things to Do
Visit Villa Balbianello - I recommend getting a private english speaking tour!
Hike Rifugio Menaggio - this is a strenuous hike, but not impossible. My son did it on his own at 4 years old! He did need a bit of help on the way down, hubby was a trooper like always and piggy backed him. When you get to the top the views are absolutely spectacular and there is a small cafe where you can grab a well earned beer and some delicious pastas and meats.