The luxe lake
Lake Como’s postcard-worthy scenery and waterside towns have been pulling in well-heeled holidaymakers since Roman times. Today, the palatial villas and chic restaurants on the lake’s shores still attract an A-list crowd.
The central section of the lake is where most of the action takes place. On the eastern side, you’ve got pretty Varenna, with its quaint fishermen’s houses and 14th-century church, while the western shore is home to tiny Tremezzo, the immaculate gardens of Villa Carlotta and Villa Balbianello, and bustling Menaggio, with its palm-lined prom. The promontory that juts out into the middle of the lake is where you’ll find Bellagio, a gorgeous little town laced with cobbled streets and filled with small boutiques and enotecas (wine shops).
Ferries ply regular routes between the big towns on the lake, so exploring more than one is easy. Want to explore further afield? Milan and the Swiss mountains are both in day-trip distance.
Flights to the Italian Lakes take around 2 hours from the UK.
Transfer time from Malpensa airport to Lake Como is approximately 1 hour 30 minutes.
The Italian Lakes are at their best between April and October. June, July and August see temperatures soar to the high 20s (perfect for swimming and sunbathing), while the slightly cooler temperatures in April, May, September and October are ideal for those who want to spend a bit more time walking, cycling or sightseeing.
British citizens do not currently require a visa to visit Italy.
When you dine out in Italy, you will generally be charged a coperto (cover charge), which is for the bread, tablecloth, cutlery, etc. Tipping in Italy is not customary, but is always appreciated.
The official language of Italy is Italian. English is widely spoken too, so getting by is easy.