Lake Como, often described as Italy’s most romantic lake, has been a popular holiday destination with British travellers since the 19th century, favoured by many of the rich and famous who own villas in the area. Located in an area of outstanding natural beauty, but not far from the northern Italian city of Milan, it is surrounded by majestic mountain scenery and has a shoreline dotted with quaint little ports and vibrant villages – every one worth a visit!
Our chosen hotel is located in Cadenabbia and a stay here is the perfect choice if you want a real slice of Italian lake life in a colourful and vibrant setting. This pretty, sheltered town is located on the western shore of Lake Como and is home to many of the area’s most elegant and opulent villas and palaces, most offering excellent panoramic views of this enchanting lake. The year-round mild climate, lavish gardens and stunning lake views have also made sure that Cadennabia has lost none of its appeal over the years. It is perfectly situated for ease of travel around the Lake.
A number of lakeside towns including Bellagio, Como and Varenna are easily accessible by the public ferries and boats which depart from Cadenabbia regularly throughout the day.
In nearby Tremezzo, an easy 20 minute stroll heading south along the shore of the Lake, is the lovely Villa Carlotta. Originally built for the Milanese marquis Giorgio Clerici in 1690, it is now a museum whose interior includes delightful sculptures by Canova, arguably the greatest of Italian sculptors. The stunning gardens of the villa are built in traditional Italian style with steps, terraces, statuary and fountains as well as a wealth of wonderful plants.
The beautiful and popular town of Bellagio, just a short journey across the Lake by ferry, seems to rise out of the water like a majestic fantasy of how an Italian lakeside town should look. This stylish town exudes class, but at the same time the narrow, quaint streets that wend their way up from the lakeshore are filled with interesting shops and little cafés and restaurants to suit all tastes.
For a less bustling experience visit Varenna, on the eastern shore of the Lake, for its calm and peaceful atmosphere. Built on a rocky outcrop below an almost vertical mountain face, it has a long, shaded lakeside promenade dotted with cafes and restaurants. On top of the rocky outcrop sits the 13th century Castello di Vezio; a popular tourist attraction because of the birds of prey kept and trained there, and for its stunning views over the Lake. Keen walkers can reach it from Varenna (approx. 1 hour’s walk), but should check the opening times beforehand as they can vary.
Menaggio is a small resort in an attractive setting, and is easily accessible by ferry or local bus. It has a pretty lakeside promenade and harbour, and a town square with cafés. The historic part of the town, which slopes up from the harbour, is a pleasant place to spend a little time shopping or just taking a leisurely stroll.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner, with drinks included from 8.00am – midnight.
(Please note; drinks available are limited to house wine, beer, local branded spirits, mineral water and soft drinks).
St. Moritz & the Bernina Express - Full day
Join this excursion to Switzerland◊ for a unique opportunity to travel on the world famous Bernina Express and visit one of the best-known and best-loved resorts of all, the world famous ski resort of St. Moritz. The journey begins by coach to Poschiavo, where we join the Bernina Express. The Valtellina, one of Italy’s largest valleys; the picturesque Swiss mountain town of Poschiavo; the Engadina valley, one of the most scenic valleys in Switzerland; the impressive Maloja Pass – these are all highlights in their own right, but the real star of the day is the Bernina Express itself. You will enjoy an unforgettable journey travelling through the stunning landscape and experiencing breathtaking vistas of green valleys, crystal clear lakes and snow-capped mountains. After alighting from the train we visit nearby St. Moritz where you will have time at leisure to explore this elegant town while soaking up its legendary and exclusive atmosphere. The coach journey back to Lake Como returns via the charming town of Chiavenna, completing a day filled with all of the very best that nature has to offer; a truly memorable experience.
Departs on Friday. Price; £50pp
◊Please remember your passport if you book this excursion.
Lake Cruise & Villa Balbianello - Half day
This enjoyable lake cruise also offers you the chance to visit one of the treasures of Lake Como, Villa Balbianello. This magnificent villa was originally built for Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini at the end of the 18th century on the site of an old Franciscan monastery, and stands on the tip of a steep promontory overlooking the Lake, almost opposite Bellagio. Its stunning location has long made it a favourite with film-makers and it has appeared as a set in a number of well-known movies. Today the villa is devoted to displaying the collections of its last resident, the Italian explorer Guido Monzino, who died in 1988.
His eclectic tastes include a rich collection of Chinese, African and pre-Columbian art, precious 17th century English and French furniture, and a small museum with documents and mementoes of his expeditions, including artefacts from the Italian ascent of Everest in 1973. The panoramic terraced garden, dominated by elegant loggia overlooking bays on both sides of the promontory, is also not to be missed.
Departs on Sunday. Price; £35pp
Lake Maggiore - Full day
Lake Maggiore is the second Italian lake for size and, according to many, the first for beauty with its romantic scenery and good climate. Our tour takes you to Stresa, the popular holiday resort also known as the ‘pearl of the lake’. With its picturesque old village, imposing villas, majestic hotels and gardens that flourish by the lakeside, it is sure to appeal. At Stresa you will be able to join an optional lake cruise where you will have the opportunity to admire the beautiful Borromean Islands (known as the ‘jewels of the lake’) and explore Isola dei Pescatori (Fisherman’s Island), one of the most romantic and evocative places on the Lake with its quaint houses, cobbled streets and boats anchored in the harbour.
Departs on Monday. Price; £40pp
Packed lunches for the excursions are available on request from the hotel if 24 hoursnotice is given.
Please note of all three excursions were correct at the time of this break being placed online. However, the availability, tour order and content of these excursions may be subject to change due to local conditions, and Omega Holidays reserves the right to make such changes if necessary.
This tour is organised and operated by Omega Holidays plc ABTA V4782 ATOL 6081