The Bite-Sized Baker’s Adventures – Lake Como, Italy
This past February Tony and I took a road trip to Laax, Switzerland and on our drive we passed by Lake Como, Italy. Although we were only able to catch a few glimpses from our car window, what we saw looked pretty stunning. I mean… if George Clooney has a villa there it has to be worth visiting, right? I made a mental note to research Lake Como when I got home and like the crazy person I am, I made an itinerary of things to do, see, and eat… Just in case we ever found ourselves in Lake Como.
Fortunately, we were presented with the perfect opportunity to visit Lake Como when my future mother-in-law, Judith, visited us this past April. Thank goodness I already had a three-day itinerary prepared so I didn’t need to do anything but hit refresh on the weather report every day leading up to our trip!
We stayed in the Grand Hotel Tremezzo with Judith, which might be my favorite hotel ever and it also bears a striking resemblance to the fictional Grand Budapest Hotel. We were originally planning on going back to the Amalfi Coast with my sister, Rachel and her boyfriend, KC when they visited in July, but our first stay at Grand Hotel Tremezzo was so amazing that we had to take Rachel and KC there… And it did not disappoint!
The hotel is located several miles north of Como in the town of Tremezzo, and offers amazing views of the lake and the quaint town of Bellagio. I originally discovered this hotel via their “WATERontheWATER” pool, a pool floating on the water?! I was all but hooked. Besides the floating pool, we counted four other swimming pools in the hotel, including an indoor/outdoor T-Spa Infinity Pool (in case the weather isn’t as perfect as you’d like)… They also have a 24-hour candy bar full of Haribo products! SCORE.
Lake Como has a micro-climate so it never gets very cold in the winter months and has a very tropical, Mediterranean-like climate in the summer months. However, tropical weather also means frequent thunderstorms, so beware! We lucked out on both of our trips with excellent weather, except on the last night when we encountered one of the most terrifying thunderstorms of my life. But more on that later.
When the weather is warm, I would definitely suggest renting a boat and spending the day on the lake. There are a number of boat rental places along the lake and a lot places don’t require a reservation or boat license unless you’re renting a more luxurious boat. It’s an excellent way to see all of the beautiful historic villas, gardens, and towns from the water… Not to mention with a bottle of Prosecco!
Lake Como is ginormous, 100 miles in length, so we only explored the middle part of the lake near Tremezzo, Bellagio, Varenna, and Menaggio. Sandy beaches are a bit difficult to find in Lake Como and the water gets very choppy so we spent most of the day looking for a place to dock and swim with Louie, but I can’t really complain because we had excellent weather and the surroundings were beautiful, but I think next time I’ll do my research to find more public beaches to explore and dock at.
On our last day, we took the ferry to Bellagio where we spent the afternoon and evening drinking heavily, roaming the streets, gawking at every little alleyway, and looking for a restaurant to eat dinner. The weather took a turn for the worse and just as it started to downpour we stumbled into Ristoro Forma & Gusto. Ristoro Forma & Gusto is a small, cozy little restaurant that’s tucked away in the streets of Bellagio. I hardly ever have luck when stumbling into a restaurant with no previous knowledge or experience, but this was such a nice and pleasant surprise!
We were starving and ordered SIX pizzas and KC really wanted a calzone, so we got one of those too. The waitress was super friendly when she took our order and didn’t even judge us for ordering so much, which is something I have truly grown to appreciate. It was so hot out and Rachel and I ordered a red wine, which was chilled, something I’ve never had before and let’s just say I am now slightly obsessed with it and always making a fool of myself when I ask other restaurants in Italy for chilled red wine. The pizzas came out after 20-30 minutes and we probably devoured all six, plus the calzone in 30 minutes. I would like to take credit for at least three pizzas.
After our meal, we walked outside to find the sky filled with ominous black clouds and we decided it was in our best interest to catch the next ferry home before we got stuck in Bellagio for the night. As we were waiting for the ferry to come the wind picked up and the lake looked like something out of Lemony Snicket’s “A Serious of Unfortunate Events: The Wide Window.” And then the rain and lightening came… While we were boarding the ferry with a few other passengers the lake had gotten so choppy that everyone had to hold on to the ferry for fear of going overboard. It might have been the longest 15 minutes of my life and I kept looking at either side of the ferry to figure out if and when we capsize, whether I should try to swim to Tremezzo or back to Bellagio. Fortunately, they were able to dock the ferry with a crashing thud, but we survived!
Overall, both of our trips to Lake Como have been absolutely incredible and it is definitely a spot worth visiting! A lot of times when people email me asking about traveling to Italy, they are only considering the bigger tourist destinations of Amalfi Coast, Rome, Florence, Venice, and Milan, but there is so much more to see and experience in Italy! Fortunately, Lake Como is only a 45-minute drive from Milan Malpensa airport or a 35-minute train ride from Milano Centrale to Como San Giovanni station. If you ever find yourself traveling to Italy, please don’t hesitate to send me an email on my Contact page and I will be happy to suggest recommendations! Until next time, Lake Como!
Where To Stay:
Grand Hotel Tremezzo – Via Provinciale Regina, 8, 22019 Tremezzina CO
Where To Eat:
Ristorante i Tigli in Theoria – Via Bianchi Giovini, 41, Como CO
La Darsena – Via Regina, 3, 22019 Tremezzina CO
The Market Place – Via Gerolamo Borsieri, 21, 22100 Como CO
Ristorante Bilacus – Salita Serbelloni, 32, 22021 Bellagio CO
Ristoro Forma & Gusto – Salita Mella 13, 22021 Bellagio CO
Ristorante Salice Blu – Via per Lecco, 33, Bellagio CO