The Allure of Lake Como
“Did you see George Clooney?” That is the question I heard the moment I got home from my trip. As soon as I said the words “Lake Como,” my friends asked if I saw George. I told them I saw Bellagio but not George; it was disappointing for me, too.
In all seriousness, I loved this area of Italy, with the winding roads around the lake, the colorful buildings in tiny cliff-side villages, and the calming affect of the water. Jason and I were here for the very first time with our friend Ashley of The Lazy Travelers and her husband, Jeff.
If you are unfamiliar, the Lake Como region is located in the far north of Italy near the border of Switzerland. We were actually lucky enough to stay at the Parco San Marco Lifestyle Beach Resort, which sat between Lake Lugano and Lake Como so we had a view of both on a very clear day. The property was huge and offered quite a bit for visitors to do. The beach area is dedicated to water sports. If water sports are not your thing, the spa is the other main attraction. Guests wrap themselves in their robes and stroll to and from the spa all day long.
I didn’t take the time to explore the spa, but from what we saw there were many happy customers. Other activities offered are tennis, yoga, and wine tasting in a private wine cave. There are also two pool areas, one for families and one for adults only. Parco San Marco is ideal for families with children of any age.
The first evening in town, we settled in and enjoyed the lake view from our balcony then headed to dinner with Ashley and Jeff. Since we were so close to Switzerland, the food was not specifically Italian. We enjoyed a diverse meal that included fresh lake fish and French-prepared beef filet. The wine list was extensive.
The morning came, and off we went to explore the lake area and all it had to offer. We planned to visit Bellagio, walk the streets, and shop until our hearts were content. Although we missed the ferry to Bellagio from Menaggio, we hired a private boat to take us instead, which is the way to go. It doesn’t cost that much more, and the experience is worth every euro.
Bellagio is lovely, with its cobblestone streets and walkways. The shops are full of Italian pottery and souvenirs, and the boutiques sell the latest Italian fashions and shoes for women and men to drool over. We had so much fun losing each other from store to store as we shopped.
Then we decided it was cocktail time. (It’s hard work shopping and roaming the streets.) Sitting lakefront with a Prosecco and some snacks is the recommended treatment for tired feet in Italy.
The trip to Bellagio didn’t take up a full day, so we headed back to Menaggio and decided to rent a boat for eight hours and explore the lake. We rented our own boat from Menaggio Water Taxi and Boat Rental, and Jason and Jeff took turns captaining as we lazily explored the shoreline.
We saw picturesque gardens behind large villas and views of villages built high up on the surrounding hills—things you would not be able to see when driving on the road. We also floated past islands that sit in the middle of the lakes and seem to be privately owned as well as places such as Bellagio that sit where the lake splits.
It took us a few hours to do all the exploring we wanted to do before we headed back. A warning: The late afternoon brings strong winds over the lake, so if you are not an experienced boater you might have a tough time docking your boat. All in all we had a great day on the waters of Lake Como.
After our boating adventure, we headed back to Parco San Marco for our last evening with Ashley and Jeff before going our separate ways. Dinner was lovely at La Masseria, the resort’s beach terrace and grill. We watched the sunset over the lake and toasted to a fantastic trip in Italy with friends.