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My Personal Guide to Lake Como

👇🏾SHOP THE LOOKS IN THIS POST👇🏾

images by @clapoe

Argegno , Lake Como

**While reading this blog post note that you can click on the images to buy the looks I'm wearing or similar pieces. 
All the restaurants and hotels we went to are named and linked on the far bottom of this post . Happy reading! 

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Our initial goal coming to Lake Como was this: compare it vigorously to the Island of Mallorca. Why? It’s where I met Oliver my fiance for the first time . We had our very first kiss in Mallorca . He had most of his childhood memories there… so yes it was a no brainer. But leave it to me to always keep an open mind. I’ve never been to Lake Como.  However I’ve been to Mallorca like a hundred times. I still thought ,”there’s just no way a place can photograph so beautifully and NOT be at least as close to incredible as it’s pictured” . I wanted to go , I HAD to go.

I ended up turning a deaf ear to all the “you sure you want to go and get confused by another option” and the “but I heard its one of the most expensive places in the world ” and the “we have no attachment to that place and we’ve been set on Mallorca” coming from Oliver . Plus have you ever tried to argue with a pregnant woman who just came out of a 5 month lockdown in rainy UK? If your answer was no then you’re a fucking genius . Don’t do it , it’s a death trap .

So we booked to go for a week . I went with my mother in law and then Oliver would meet us after his big race in Belgium . I think it’s safe to say it took a total of 25 seconds of driving on SS340. This is the “highway” that takes you through the lake from the city of Como. I’m definitely using the word highway loosely here because nothing that can only fit a goat and a fiat should be called a highway.

Lake Como wooed me instantly . THIS IS THE PLACE. It’s just too good , the view of the massive green mountains hovering over stunning calm clear waters . The sight of tens of stunning little romantic wooden charters carrying people across the lake, and the gentle breeze with essence of clean fresh water. There was a hint of cherry blossom flavour coming from trees draped over the vibrant colourful houses.

The narrow road had its advantages, its like the more it curved, the closer you felt to the lake , and the warmer that feeling in your soul. I’m not being cheesey , this place was pure magic . As you drive with the lake to your right, if you dare to take your eyes off the road for a split second (maybe don’t ) , you would see the stack of villages resting calmly on the mountain. The villages were like something from a colouring book , bright yellow homes with royal green windows shutters , some were gentle pink like the color of cotton candy and had little perfectly placed pots of  blooming flowers hanging on the walls.

Before we even went to the Hotel , we went to meet Rachel Birthistle , our wedding planner . As if the universe wanted to prove all my possible doubts wrong in one day , our wedding planner ended up being perfect . She had a calmness to her , she was incredibly sweet and (by the way so gorgeous) . The amount of experience she had made every worry about the wedding vanish from my mind . DING! Thank you universe. This is it . I started mentally firing every one in Mallorca who was preparing me a quote for a wedding there.

 

So lets get to the nitty gritty. Here’s what I gathered from being in Lake Como for what ended up being almost 20 days (yes I extended my trip) and what I would describe as some things that highlighted my experience there.

WHERE TO LAND, WHERE TO STAY 

We landed into Malpensa Airport , it was the closest and most cost effective seeing as we were coming from Manchester . You can also land into Bergamo Airport . but that would take 20-30 minutes longer to reach the lake . (See below Map)

I rented a car the second we landed, the process was so easy and the airport is very organised . Big , but easy to manoeuvre. I always like renting a car if its a place where driving is known to be relatively easy (easy signs and your GPS apps are familiar with it). I love the freedom of knowing I can go wherever I want whenever I want .

Also , here’s a BIG TIP : Taxis in Lake Como are ridiculously expensive . So unless you do crap money and like the luxury of having someone chauffeur you around , renting a car here is a must . Also please don’t rent a G-Wagen or a big SUV . It is no joke that Fiats are a god-send here. You’ll need the tiniest thing you can fit your family and luggage into because not only are the streets like squiggly little Mario kart roads, but there is also never any parking anywhere .

CERNOBBIO

Cernobbio is the town we stayed in for the first five days. This is like a beautiful entry village and great gateway to the lake. There a lots of hotels there and actually most were more than reasonably priced. What I did like about the lake if I was to speak generally is that even though there are obvious very expensive options, you still could do it on a budget. There are 3 star hotels that are more than comfortable clean and homey that will fall under the 150-200 euros a night range. You could even find boutique spots for less than that , it definitely isn’t limited to people who crap money (as opposed to some common assumptions) .

We stayed in the Hilton. It’s one of the newest hotels there and was super convenient for the first part of our trip which is where we wanted to look through venues and discover the town of Cernobbio as well as have easy access to the City of Como. I wanted to start at the bottom of the lake and work our way up . Its also really nice to be close to the city of Como . I don’t know about you but I personally love to and have to discover the town where the locals live , and work . Its the most fascinating thing about traveling. You gotta see it all!

Plus the shopping in Como was ace. I f you do go , go to where these red dots are here in this map below. Its like a few blocks of stunning thin cobble roads with stores of every kind (from Calvin Klein , to casual dress shops to beautiful italian boutiques… all of which were broken apart by delicious espresso cafes, bakeries and restaurants).  I would say these shops are more than affordable and cater to every taste . Here’s a little sneak peak of what I’m describing :

Cernobbio is also home to the elegant and iconic Villa D’este. While this falls under the category of a home for people who “crap money” , it is so worth a visit . We went there to have lunch. The view from Lunch seemed like the closest you could possibly get to the lake . An absolutely exquisite , pristine setting that will blow your mind. You won’t want to take your eyes off the view yet you feel like you don’t have enough eyes because whats behind you is nothing short of spectacular . Luxury at its finest .

 

The view from Veranda, the restaurant in Villa D’este

 

After a very over the top lunch , I really wanted a laid back local pizza. Cernobbio is good for that. You can find alot of cool casual spots that won’t charge you your entire house mortgage for a meal . I drove up to Della Torre restaurant with my friend who was born and raised in Lake Como and as per her recommendation had this incredibly delicious can-have-it-everyday pizza:

 

The day after , the plan was to checkout venues all day and then meet up with my local friend again and have a nice meal with her. She again didn’t fail me and recommended something healthy this time. I have to tell you about this place. I had the best salmon bowl of my entire life here. It’s called La Vita E Bella. Its hard to get to by car so you definitely want to make sure to park across the lake and walk over. The walk is so nice you won’t feel the 15 minutes journey at all. You’ll be very distracted by the stunning boats on the port and the hussle and bussle of Como.

The walk to La Vita E Bella 

You MUST try this place . I’m linking all my favourite restaurants including this one at the bottom of the page !

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TREMEZZO

The Boat Ride from GHT Tremezzo to Hotel, in Lake Como

After viewing a few venues in Cernobbio , discovering the city and trying out some of the most well known restaurants there , I was ready to move to a different place. Its always good to take advantage and stay in different environments . We packed up everything and moved up to Tremezzo . It’s about a 35-40 minute drive north . And this is when it got super exciting , (and expensive) but totally worth it ! We checked in to Grand hotel Tremezzo for a 3 night stay. This hotel is rich in history . The fact that its family owned really shows . Its so homey, you don’t feel like you’re in a hotel , you’re just in a really beautiful home decked with stunning views from gorgeous balconies and beautiful gardens on every access. And the best thing? They have a floating pool ! A pool , thats in the lake …yup you heard it right . So basically you have your own boat dock too . If you wanted to take a trip to Bellagio, which is on the opposite side of the lake, you can just hop on a boat which the hotel can arrange for you  . Here are some snaps from Grand Hotel Tremezzo :

Excuse this iPhone snap but this was a moment of morning nausea and back pain so I was not getting out of bed

The rooms are like something from a fairytale

We got a lake View Room which had this gorgeous balcony that looked out onto the pool and the lake

 

The Spa made me feel like I was living inside a painting , such an ethereal experience !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So how can I describe Tremezzo to you ? Hmm it’s such a different vibe from Cernobbio , I think you will see more “boujie” tourists here. And I found that pretty much most of the restaurants I looked up were quite upscale. For example when I was in Cernobbio , I was craving a good pizza one night and just wanted something casual .I found tons of options. When I was in Tremezzo it was a choice between white table cloth restaurants nearby and slightly whiter table cloths ! So depending on what you’re seeking . Keep this in mind . The rooms here will run you at a base price of 550 euros and then you can splurge from there if you want a fancy big suite. But if you did want this , I can vouch for you that suites are so so elegant , and in my opinion really worth what they’re valued at.

 

BOAT RIDES ON THE LAKE

So , here’s the thing . I got asked alot : Are they worth it ? This is because it’s common knowledge that they get pricey . Especially the ritzy glossed wood types that look like they came straight out of a bond movie. My answer is this:  the ride ? YOU MUST DO . How you do it however is up to you . The pretty little premier ones can run you up to 400 euros for two hours . But you can be smart about it , and get on a ferry ! I think the ferry prices literally range from 5 euros to 20 . You can try the Concordia, it is one of the main symbols of Lake Como.  It was built in 1926. So its an experience you  definitely shouldn’t miss out on. It also can be the only way you see the tucked away VIP (could be George Clooney’s) Villas on the edge of the cliffs . You’ll need a boat for that ! And trust me you want to see the stunning little hidden villages and the luxurious multi million dollar villas that can only be seen from the water. Its just so cool! 

ARGEGNO 

After everyone left and I extended my trip , I started taking my little drop top Fiat and driving around little town nearby . Argegno was 20 minutes south of Tremezzo and had the most amazing little cafes, the most colourful homes and shops and honestly another insanely gorgeous location to see the lake from . If you stop by here I recommend you try La Piazetta , they have the most delicious crudos and tartars for appetisers, unbelievably tasty pastas and don’t even get me started on their pizzas. Its a must ! Here’s a few shots I took in Argegno wearing this stunning velvet piece from Rat and Boa. i’ve linked a similar piece in the end of the blog post as well as on the images themselves if you click on them 🙂

The balcony of La Piazetta , if you’re lucky enough to get a table up here you totally should . (Reserve in advance if you’re going at night!)
The Pizza in La Piazetta
Their famous risotto with perch fish , a local classic!
I tried making the best of the fact that my outfit really contrasted the walls
This was the light at 7:30 am , it was spectacular , If you want to take pictures this is the most beautiful time for it
I really liked the fact that this person’s home was a beautiful mix of modern and traditional

MOLTRASIO

I then moved back down about 30 minutes south of Tremezzo and stayed at Grand Hotel Imperiale . This hotel is situated in an interesting area, its a good place to stay if you want to have the option to pop to Cernobbio but not actually be in Cernobbio. Or if you wanted to go to pop to Tremezzo and not be a lifetime away . The closest city to this hotel is Moltrasio . A little village I would call it , not a city . The best way to describe it is simple , straight to the point and maybe more for locals than tourists. They have a killer burger restaurants and very causal cafes . This isn’t a place for the showoffs but maybe more for the artsy creatives. Each corner is like an explosion of color. I say you should definitely stop by here . And stay at Grand Hotel Imperiale , its cosy , won’t break the bank and has gorgeous views .

My Balcony at the Grand Hotel Imperiale Resort
This is the main garden at Grand hotel Imperiale

MY FOOD RECOMMENDATIONS :

La Vita E Bella , Como

Il Glicine , Cernobbio

Al Veluu , Tremezzo

Della Torre , Cernobbio

La Piazatta , Argegno

Mosto & Carnazza , Cernobbio

Peach Pit Pizzeria Donnarumma , Cernobbio

La Poletti , Moltrasio

MY HOTEL RECOMMENDATIONS :

Villa D’este , 5 star

Grand Hotel Tremezzo , 5 star

Grand Hotel Imperiale , 4 star

La Locanda del Cantiere, 3 star

MY WEDDING PLANNER :

Rachel Birthistle https://www.thelakecomoweddingplanner.com/about

BRANDS I’M WEARING :

Revolve https://bit.ly/3jgMzsB

V.chapman Studio

Lili Claspe

Bom Pom Bags

Missguided

Asos

Rat & Boa

WHAT I WORE:

LOVE XOXO

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Comments 1

  1. This is a phenomenal post worthy of Conde Nast Traveler !!! Seriously so stunning plus so informative … loved it !!! Xxx

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