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The most beautiful villages in Lake Como

During the next weeks, we will share with you the most beautiful destinations around Lake Como. From glamorous, dolce vita settings to the most authentic Italian towns, there’s a destination for everyone.

Our first installment is dedicated to Menaggio and Varenna, two of the most charming villages located in the heart of the lake. They offer a different atmosphere: Menaggio is perfect for family vacations, while Varenna is the destination for those who want a bohemian experience.


This village is authentic. It reminded me of the little town in the Veneto region where I spent most of my Summers as a kid. It’s the quintessential Italian feeling: women dressed up to go to church, a main street full of small but well curated shops, a delightful square overlooking the lake with colourful terraces to stop for an aperitivo and a long promenade perfect to stroll at sunset, ice cream in hand.

Lake Como - Mennagio_5
Lake Como - Mennagio_9
Lake Como - Mennagio_2 Lake Como - Mennagio_4

Once you get off the boat, Menaggio doesn’t strike as a picturesque village. It even disappoints a little bit, but as soon as you get closer to the lively town center you realize that this is the kind of place that every kid dreams about as a Summer destination. The one you remember with nostalgia when you grow up. Menaggio is more open and flat than other villages around the lake, so there’s more space to ride bicycles, run and play. Easier to navigate, there aren’t as many stairs and slopes as you will find in most of the villages. If you are looking for a family trip in lake Como, this would be a perfect destination to establish your headquarters.

Lake Como - Mennagio_1 Lake Como - Mennagio_10 Lake Como - Mennagio_3

Full of little alleys with traditional grocery shops and dotted with impressive villas and pastel coloured houses, Menaggio offers the perfect balance between the distinctive majestic atmosphere of the lake and the homey and warm feeling of a family vacation. This is a place to visit if you want to live like a local, experience the popular culture and relax.

Lake Como - Mennagio_7 Lake Como - Mennagio_6

Lake Como - Mennagio_8


This tiny village stole our hearts from the moment we saw its delightful profile as the boat approached the port. Varenna is more rustic, it’s full of stone and stairs. It’s rough but it’s incredibly charming. The architecture is simple, not many villas are located in this area. Instead you will find lovely pink, crimson and ochre houses and hidden, unpolished corners.  Varenna seems reluctant to lose its essence, it’s obvious that it doesn’t want to be open to mass tourism and apart from a tiny harbour with a couple of cafés and restaurants, the streets and slopes are almost empty, raw. Lake Como - Varenna_1

Lake Como - Varenna_10

Lake Como - Varenna_6

Varenna was a fishing village and it’s simplicity is the key to its charm. It’s not prepared to welcome thousands of visitors, so if you want to enjoy its beautiful alleys, you better choose low season to visit. Sipping a ristretto in one of its local, tiny cafes overlooking the lake while enjoying the timid Spring sunshine is exactly what our travel philosophy is about: enjoying the simple things and the understated luxury.

Lake Como - Varenna_7

Lake Como - Varenna_8 Lake Como - Varenna_9 Lake Como - Varenna_13 Lake Como - Varenna_11 Lake Como - Varenna_5 Lake Como - Varenna_3
Varenna is the destination for those who want to admire the lake from the distance, enjoy nature and simple life, for those who look for a nice, calm experience… and for those who have strong legs. Those stairs and slopes are not for the faint-hearted!

PS: next week we will publish the second installment of these series and it would be dedicated to the wonderful town of Bellagio. Stay tuned!


  1. I think they’re all beautiful! I’d be thrilled to visit. I could go for a summer in Italy.

  2. Lee Ann says

    These are gorgeous photos. Varenna looks especially inviting. Was it really that quiet or did you have to wait many minutes to take photos with no people? It always seems someone walks around the corner just as I snap the perfect person-less photo! A couple of photos remind me of scenes in villages around Lakes Orta and Maggiore. Thank you for making me daydream of Italian lakes when I should be working. LOL!

    • It was that quiet! There were some tourists around the port but not that many. The perks of traveling off season! These two villages were our favorite together with another one that we will left for the last installment of these series. You know, to keep things interesting ;)

    • That makes us really happy! Both villages are absolutely beautiful and relaxed, we loved them. You are very lucky to live in that area! So peaceful and pretty!

  3. Pingback: Bellagio | The slow pace

  4. Pingback: Lenno and Villa del Balbianello | The slow pace

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