Lake Como is much larger than people think. I once drove around every shore and it took four hours. It’s shape is an upside down Y. Como is the left lower arm with the town of Como at the southern end. The right lower arm, called the Lecco arm because that town is at the southern tip. And the northern arm has Colico at its northern tip.
The most popular part of the lake is called the Golden Triangle located in the central lake area – which encompasses Menaggio, Lenno, Varenna and Bellagio – the most interesting and visited towns on the lake. You can plan your days simply taking ferries to all the small villages in the Golden Triangle.
The village of Bellagio is called the Pearl of the Lake. It’s the heart of the Golden Triangle, and an extremely charming village. Because of that, it’s also the most crowded. Varenna is less crowded, and is considered the most charming walking village on the lake. It gets the last rays of the sun, so is a favorite for aperitivos. Tremezzo, on the Como arm of the lake, is home to Villa Carlotta, arguably the most famous historic villa to visit on the lake.
Visiting these villas is one of the famous and ancient activities in the area. We personally recommend Villa Balbianello over Villa Carlotta if you only have time for one. The former has everything still in the villa as if the owner walked out yesterday. The latter, on the other hand, has the most extraordinary and extensive botanical gardens, although the villa itself is sparsely furnished.
Boat trips, golfing, scenic seaplane rides, sailing, an adventure park for children. mountain walks, cycling, concerts, all abound on the lake. If motor bikes are your thing, the moto guzzi factory with a huge and fascinating motor bike museum is on the Lecco Arm in Mandello Lario.
There’s something for everyone, and every budget, including incredible restaurants, from Michelin stars to rustic mountain inns. But most of all, just taking in the breathtaking scenery around every corner will keep you awe-struck for your entire visit even if all you do is drive from one incredible eating experience to the next.